Leper Messiah

Album: Master Of Puppets (1986)


  • James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich wrote this. It's a song dealing with Christian televangelists who use a person's guilt to con them into paying money. By promising people their safety with donations, televangelists keep the money for themselves. Another interpretation is that religion does not deliver everything it promises and ends up manipulating and controlling them, keeping with the overall theme of the album Master Of Puppets.
  • This song, along with "The God That Failed" on The Black Album, may be a reference to the death of James Hetfield's mother. She died of untreated cancer because her Christian Scientist beliefs went against the methods of treatment that would save her.
  • Former Metallica guitarist Dave Mustaine claimed to have written the main riff to this, but this was later refuted by Kirk Hammet in Guitar World magazine in February of 2006. Mustaine isn't credited on the track, and claims the band used his work without giving him credit so they could rip him off. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    JT - Tullahoma, TN, for all above
  • Metallica once chartered a 727 owned by a wealthy televangelist. Filmmaker Joe Berlinger followed the band for the 2004 documentary Some Kind of Monster and remembered going onboard. "Besides a full bar, there were CD players and large TVs for every swivel leather seat," he said.
  • David Bowie referenced a "leper Messiah" in his 1972 song "Ziggy Stardust":

    Ziggy sucked up into his mind
    Like a leper Messiah
    When the kids had killed the man I had to break up the band

Comments: 13

  • Shaun Snuffer from W.v.The song is about televangelism.
  • Joshua from Union City, TenneseeI will defend organized religion this way in opposition to the Leper Messiah song. A local congregation is a spiritual family. The minister is the one who leads that local spiritual family. He has obligations and responsibilities such as sermon preparation and individual counseling. All these things take time and effort. Tithing and offerings are meant for to make sure all the members of the spiritual family have diginity. The spiritually healthy existence of the congregation depends in large part on the minister's on-going laborious guidance. A congregation with only ten households that tithe can support a minister with the appropiate material diginity since a tithe is a tenth of one's income. The minister will have an average income of those congregational members. In a smaller congregation However, I do have many problems with televangelist type ministry that I will not go into to cover. I am not a big fan of Joel Osteen for instance, but I am not going to explain why. However, I do not have a problem using technology for outreach purposes and Christian education purposes in itself. It is just how it is used where the problems are. I recommend Ligonier ministers to learn about details of the Christian faith. R. C. Sproul who passed away the first Day that Star Wars the Last Jedi was showed started Ligonier ministers. I think one should study the Christian faith in detail before rejecting it. Some other people say they are Christians, but they are rather unaware of the details. Being unaware of Christian faith is being unaware of American and World history itself. Christianity has an ongoing influence on society that will not go away.
  • Levi from Seattle"Fame, fame, infection is the game. Stinking drunk with power, we see." Means that the televangelists who make money from the people at the church who think it's for the church goes to the televangelist instead. Making money and spending on lavish things.
  • Zander from Los AngelesI love the heaviness of the riffs and especially the middle part with the double bass drum.
  • Nick from Brantford, OnAccording to James, Cliff named this song.
  • Dennis from Steinbach, Mb"Spineless from the start, sucked into the part" Leper Messiah was a spineless creature
    Which they worship
  • Jacob from Jackson, TnI always thought it was representing Jesus as a disease (leprosy), and that the "send me money, send me green, Heaven you will meet" was the collection plates passed out during the Lord's Supper. Maybe, maybe not.
  • Aki from Sunrise, FlAn issue of Guitar World (I forget which one) interprets the song, especially the line "Chain, chain, join the endless chain, taken by his glamour" as being about the disgusting amount of glam metal and hair metal oozing about in 80's LA. I personally think the line "stinking drunk with power" is one of the greatest lines James Hetfield ever wrote.
  • Nick from Las Vegas, Nvit's really funny to see people put religon and science together...for over 400 years that the church has against science.
  • G from Potomac, Md"Like a leper messiah" comes from Ziggy Stardust
  • Bryce from San Diego, CaI hate people like Benny Hinn who make money off bsing people into giving him money to give them salvation, its horrible. makes the real believers who just want to help people look really bad, "I am the way the truth and the light, no one comes to my Father but through me" (I cant remember the exact verse but its in the Book of John of the bible) those televangelists cannot be considered christian
  • Evan from Otway, OhIt's about time they added this song to the list of Metallica songs!!!! I sort of already knew what it was about, but yea...kick-rectum song. I wouldn't say its the fastest one on the album (I believe that goes to Battery =P), but still fast and...did I mention awesome?
  • Jt from Tullahoma, TnI agree. I"m suprised that they finally added all of this, I'm so flattered, lol
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Stan Ridgway

Stan RidgwaySongwriter Interviews

Go beyond the Wall of Voodoo with this cinematic songwriter.

Jules Shear - "All Through The Night"

Jules Shear - "All Through The Night"They're Playing My Song

Shears does very little promotion, which has kept him secluded from the spotlight. What changed when Cyndi Lauper had a hit with his song? Not much, really.

Chris Squire of Yes

Chris Squire of YesSongwriter Interviews

One of the most dynamic bass player/songwriters of his time, Chris is the only member of Yes who has been with the band since they formed in 1968.

Lace the Music: How LSD Changed Popular Music

Lace the Music: How LSD Changed Popular MusicSong Writing

Starting in Virginia City, Nevada and rippling out to the Haight-Ashbury, LSD reshaped popular music.

Krishna Das

Krishna DasSongwriter Interviews

The top chant artist in the Western world, Krishna Das talks about how these Hindu mantras compare to Christian worship songs.

Mark Arm of Mudhoney

Mark Arm of MudhoneySongwriter Interviews

When he was asked to write a song for the Singles soundtrack, Mark thought the Seattle grunge scene was already overblown, so that's what he wrote about.