Song Premiere: Rickie Lee Jones, 'Sympathy for the Devil'

Covers album, 'The Devil You Know,' set for September 18th

Rickie Lee Jones and Ben Harper
Myriam Santos
July 19, 2012 8:00 AM ET

For over 30 years, singer Rickie Lee Jones has drawn critical acclaim for her ability to combine original songs with rousing covers. On her new album, the virtuosic performer has decided to set aside her songwriting hat for a bit. Set for release on September 18th, The Devil You Know will instead feature Jones' interpretation of songs by Neil Young, Van Morrison, the Rolling Stones and other rock legends.

According to Jones, the artistic decision has helped her rediscover her classic voice – as well as the songs themselves.

"This record takes me to a new place in my work, my art," the singer told Rolling Stone. "I've found another voice; it's a quieter one, older, perhaps, but more likely younger than I've ever been. [The songs] are like new again, and no one has ever heard them."

Among the most recognizable tracks is a rendition of the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil." Jones strips down the original's clattering percussion, piano and vocal wailing to an intimate acoustic groove, and replaces Mick Jagger's yowl with a performance that runs from a bluesy moan to a slow, crawling falsetto. The song features instrumental accompaniment by Ben Harper, who also produced the album and contributed one song of his own, "Masterpiece."

Listen to "Sympathy for the Devil":

The full track listing for The Devil You Know:

"Sympathy for the Devil" (Rolling Stones)
"Only Love Can Break Your Heart" (Neil Young)
"Masterpiece" (Ben Harper)
"The Weight" (Robbie Robertson)
"St. James Infirmary" (traditional)
"Comfort You" (Van Morrison)
"Reason To Believe" (Tim Hardin)
"Play With Fire" (Rolling Stones)
"Seems Like a Long Time" (Theodore Anderson)
"Catch the Wind" (Donovan Leitch)

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

More Song Stories entries »