Gates Of Babylon

Album: Long Live Rock 'n' Roll (1978)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Like the rest of the Long Live Rock 'N' Roll album, this song was recorded at the famous Château d'Hérouville (Honky Château) where the composer Chopin had once lived.

    During the actual recording of "Gates Of Babylon," the band held a seance, something very much in character for the enigmatic Mr. Blackmore. As usual, lead singer Ronnie James Dio wrote the lyrics and Blackmore the music. David Stone, who played keyboards, is said to have written parts of it although he was not credited on the album.
  • "Gates Of Babylon" runs to around 6 minutes 47 seconds and has a typically mystical Dio feel to it. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2

Comments: 2

  • Someone Who Just Watched A Stream On Drugs, Mysticism, And The Modern WorldThese lyrics likely refer to the opium/hashish induced dreams (sleeping with the devil, visions, seeing in your mind) experienced by 19th century experimenters/authors/"spiritualists" who were obsessed with orientalism (Arabian nights imagery; magic carpet rides, genies, caravans, Babylon, saber dances, the veils of reality/the dancer [see also Black Sabbath's Heaven and Hell]).

    In other words, 19th century potheads were using exotic oriental drugs and describing their trips using exotic oriental images, the anesthetic and dreamlike states produced by these drugs being conceived, in a gnostic sense as a mystical technique, a "key" to (the gates of sweet hell) Paradise or the "Ideal State" (a city of heavenly sin).

    The ambivalent language used in Gates of Babylon denotes at once the archaic gnostic/mystery cult seance importance placed on the psychedelic experience as a key (I think you're ready to see [by partaking of the "fruit" as Eve did]) to a "Paradise lost", yet it also touches on the addicting and disrupting effects (to trap you within, riding the endless caravan as a slave) of these drugs, thus not really endorsing them as such but rather treating them as the ambiguous, mysterious, and potentially dangerous substances/phenomenon that they are.
  • AnonymousThis song is about the rich and how most of them go against Jesus because they have so much money despite its dark lyrics it actually has a very Christian meaning in the Bible it says a camel rope to go through the eye of a needle is more likely than a rich man to go to heaven. They say I can take you anywhere. Because Satan and his demons can get you rich but you will go to hell for this which is what the lines sleep with the devil and debt you must pay sleep with the devil the devil will take you away dio does not mean literally sleep with the devil he means if you trust the devil there will be literal hell to pay so to conclude this song is about the rich and how they will never make it to heaven
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Richard Marx

Richard MarxSongwriter Interviews

Richard explains how Joe Walsh kickstarted his career, and why he chose Hazard, Nebraska for a hit.

Loudon Wainwright III

Loudon Wainwright IIISongwriter Interviews

"Dead Skunk" became a stinker for Loudon when he felt pressure to make another hit - his latest songs deal with mortality, his son Rufus, and picking up poop.

Classic Metal

Classic MetalFact or Fiction

Ozzy, Guns N' Roses, Judas Priest and even Michael Bolton show up in this Classic Metal quiz.

Steven Tyler of Aerosmith

Steven Tyler of AerosmithSongwriter Interviews

Tyler talks about his true love: songwriting. How he identifies the beauty in a melody and turns sorrow into art.

Howard Jones

Howard JonesSongwriter Interviews

Howard explains his positive songwriting method and how uplifting songs can carry a deeper message.

Macabre Mother Goose: The Dark Side of Children's Songs

Macabre Mother Goose: The Dark Side of Children's SongsSong Writing

"London Bridge," "Ring Around the Rosie" and "It's Raining, It's Pouring" are just a few examples of shockingly morbid children's songs.