Dancing With Mr. D

Album: Goat's Head Soup (1973)


  • A common point of confusion is whether the title "Mr. D" refers to the devil or death. The case is strong for death, judging by the lyrics: "Down in the graveyard," "one of these days he's gonna set you free," "skulls," "the flesh just fall off her bones," plus many speculations on how to die - by poison, snakebite, "the sting of a spider," or being shot with a .44. There's very little of the demonic going on here (only one line, "fire and brimstone"), very much of romanticizing the end we all eventually face.
  • This was the last track producer Jimmy Miller worked on for The Stones.
  • The lyrics will remind Harlan Ellison fans of Ellison's short essay The Day I Died, first published in a 1973 issue of the Los Angeles Free Press and later published in Ellison's Stalking the Nightmare anthology. In it, Ellison idly speculates on a number of scenarios in which he dies, trying to predict the future. He's since lived long enough to prove most of them wrong. Read about it here, fantasy fans.
  • That's Billy Preston on clavinet, a type of keyboard. You might remember him as the title role in the film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - that is, if you could stand to sit through such a train wreck. Preston jammed with the Beatles, most famously on Get Back.
  • This song is typical of the whole Stones album Goat's Head Soup, having a darker tone than most Stones work. The album was recorded in Jamaica, and Keith Richards commented on the ethnic mix of studio hands they had coming in, not just Jamaicans but Chinese and Guyanans as well. It made him appreciate the cultural diversity of the island country.
  • The Stones played this on their 1973 Goats Head Soup tour, but banished it to the setlist underworld until 2017, when they brought it back for their No Filter tour, starting on September 9 with their show in Hamburg, Germany.

Comments: 11

  • Steve from Phoenix, Az
    For the nice person looking for the first words>

    Dancing With Mr. D

    Down in the graveyard where we have our tryst
    (Tryst-Meeting Place usually used in witch gatherings)
    The air smells sweet, the air smells sick
    He never smiles, his mouth merely twists
    The breath in my lungs feels clinging and thick
    But I know his name, he's called Mr. D.
  • Davíd from Woburn, MaYeah, Fede is correct in that the infamous Mr. D is Death (like the Grim Reaper) NOT the Devil. It's one of my favorites by the Stones. Some of you have some pretty... uh... "interesting" theories about this one thought.
  • Anna from Houston, TxI wonder what the words are at the beginning? I hear: "You did it, oh keep doing it"? I cannot find this anywhere....
  • David from Ur, CoOne last word.

    I dont say dont listen and enjoy even because I find that the devils fake unintentionally, after the deciet is seen, speaks about secrets not intended to be revealed. For instance the gold suit. Never should have went that far with it. Normal everyday people are going to consider concepts like time travel and such. Thats right the bible agrees. God LET Lucifer see the future, Davids future, and Lucifer is trying to steal from the rightful heir. All prophesied.
  • David from Ur, CoIsaiah 13[12] I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.

    This is the Mr. D he is attempting to be...
    Be ye not decieved.
  • David from Ur, CoDont be fooled. He is speaking of Mr. DAVID.. as in King David whos house has been wrecked and he is swinging from the chadaliers IN HIS PRESENCE. Lucifer is a usurper in the house of God. He wants to wear Davids clothing. Like in Narnia the "Wardrobe" takes them to the "Magical Kingdom" where they only ACT like the saints only in a way as to mock the Kingdom of God. But they end up REVEALLING it instead.

    Ps. I'm looking at your favorite album cover and for the life of me, I can't see any stones. I wonder what they rolled into?
  • Adam from Hampton, CanadaThe screams that can be heard after the second chorus during the guitar solo were recorded during a voodoo ceremony and are supposedly those of a possessed woman.
  • Bob from Chapel Hill, NcI used to think it was about Demerol
  • Fede from Buenos Aires, ArgentinaMr. D. is not the devil its the death. This had been said by Jagger.
  • Rhett from Melbourne, Australiathis is the opening track to Goat Head Soup - recognised as the Stones most underrated album and one of their more mellow ones
  • Chelsea from Nyc, OrJagger lobbied hard to make this one a hit. "Angie" blew it out of the water. Played live in '73 in Europe it never really took off. There is a great promo clip of this tune that features Jagger in a gold leather suit.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Does Jimmy Page Worship The Devil? A Look at Satanism in RockSong Writing

We ring the Hell's Bells to see what songs and rockers are sincere in their Satanism, and how much of it is an act.

Early Days of MTVFact or Fiction

If you can recall the days when MTV played videos, you know that there are lots of stories to tell. See if you can spot the real ones.

Richie McDonald of LonestarSongwriter Interviews

Richie talks about the impact of "Amazed," and how his 4-year-old son inspired another Lonestar hit.

Mike CampbellSongwriter Interviews

Mike is lead guitarist with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and co-writer of classic songs like "Boys Of Summer," "Refugee" and "The Heart Of The Matter."

Charles FoxSongwriter Interviews

After studying in Paris with a famous composition teacher, Charles became the most successful writer of TV theme songs.

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)Songwriter Interviews

Before "Rap" was a form of music, it was something guys did to pick up girls in nightclubs. Donnie talks about "The Rapper" and reveals the identity of Leah.