Asking the Important Questions

Did Mick Jagger rip off “Sympathy for the Devil” — or at least its opening line, basic concept, and Afro-Cuban rhythm from jazz artist Oscar Brown, Jr?


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You might know Brown better for writing the lyrics to Mongo Santamaria’s “Afro-Blue,” also from the early 1960s, which added revised lyrics to a chord progression inspired by Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things,” which was already quickly becoming a jazz standard as an instrumental, which John Coltrane was using around that time as a launching pad for one of his “sheets of sound” million-notes-a-minute sax solos:

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(And Mongo Santamaria, you may know from Blazing Saddles…)



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