The Devil is involved directly in rock and roll, whether it be grabbing a guitar himself, or giving a musician some form of supernatural assistance.
After all, if rock and roll is a message from Satan, then Satan should rock out harder than anyone else. Ties into the moral panic surrounding rock and roll when it first came on the scene — many self-proclaimed Moral Guardians criticized it as "the Devil's music."
This is not about musicians worshiping Satan, being accused of such, or mentioning Satan in their music. This requires the devil to get directly involved with the music.
- Inverted in Ah! My Goddess, where Mara's weakness is that rock and roll forces her to dance as long as she listens to it.
- Shugo Chara!: As Guardian Charas of a J-pop Idol, Angel El and Devil Il (and their Chara Naris) both have a musical trait. El's is a calm and tender singing voice, while Il's is... an electric-guitar. Which made it even more awesome when Amu transformed with her. DEVIL'S TUNE! HA!
- As makes sense, since it's about Robert Johnson (see below), Me and the Devil Blues definitely has this. Johnson somewhat unknowingly makes a Deal with the Devil for musical talent (which is gained by the devil showing the person how to play, granting them amazing musical abilities the next time they touch a guitar). Johnson is soon afterward joined in his musical travels by a man named Ike who he suspects is the Devil in disguise, who is also a good musician.
- Deadman Wonderland has Genkaku who plays a v-guitar that doubles as a two machine guns. He even gets this line in the English dub. "DEATH IS ROCK AND ROLL!"
- In Yondemasu Yo Azazel San playing the guitar is Lucifer's favorite ability.
- In Death Note, Ryuk's character design (both the original,◊ and the one they ultimately went with) evoke the image of a rockstar.
- One of the hell-banishments in the third season of Hell Girl has Ai Enma's minions stage a rock concert wherein they play the background music for the scene.
- The opening theme for Gabriel Dropout is backed by choral music when an angel is singing and electric guitar when a demon is singing.
- In Seven Mortal Sins, Astaroth has a guitar on her person and styles herself as a rock musician. While the series has plenty of image songs, she's the only one who's singing them in-universe.
- Brook from One Piece is a living skeleton who's also a skilled musician. While aboard the ship he plays sea chanties but during a brief interlude in which he's trapped on an island of cultists who've confused him for Satan, he composes darker, more rock-inspired music, including his hit song "Bone to be Wild".
- This Chick Tract alleges that all rock music, including Christian Rock, is controlled by a certain Lewis Siffer. The sad part is, you're supposed to take it seriously.
- In an arc of Hack/Slash Cassie and Vlad run across a band that had entered a pact with an Eldritch Abomination for fame in exchange for Virgin Sacrifice to carry their vessel into the world. When Vlad messes up their plans they find a new vessel in the (male) lead singer.
- There's a comic called "The Devil's Trumpet" about a legendary jazz trumpet said to have been won off the devil and able to call him up with its music. A young musician kills its aged owner and steals it. He doesn't call up the Devil when he plays it, but he gets the next thing - the freaking Batman comes crashing through his window.
- A variation in Paradise Thwarted, sequel to Manchester Lost, a Good Omens fic. When the archangels "form a band," or rather just take over Foreigner, Lucifer ends up as the manager. Michael is the lead singer, Raphael is the electric guitarist, Gabriel is on the keyboard and Uriel plays the drums. It Makes Sense in Context.
- Eridan and Sollux in Homestuck High have inexplicably become demons and compete in a Narmfully-described musician's duel.
- Beelzebub from Sonic X: Dark Chaos to the max. He is the one who originally invented both the guitar and rock n' roll (by accident, during the mother of all drug binges). His guitar, Fuckslayer, is the very first guitar ever made and is so strong it can obliterate warships.
- A Good Omens fic by A.A. Pessimal, in which the angel and the demon seek to spread the word through rock and pop music, had to be taken down from FFN as it contravened the "no real people" rule. Not being able to work out how to do it without referring to real people, the story All The Best tunes? was migrated to A03, who aren't so picky. At one point, Crowley has to directly adopt the persona of a pop singer to persuade a nervous actor that he can carry the role in a film. The role is that the actor plays Satan who in the film is posing as a pop singer, the better to spread lust and despair among adolescent girls... Crowley has to give him a practical demonstration.
- Inverted in Hamlet 2.
"Rock me! Rock me! Rock me, Sexy Jeeesus!"
- Trick or Treat is a film that plays straight a lot of the "evil rock and roll" myths with a musician who does...something vague with his soul before suiciding in a fire. He is resurrected and summoned by someone playing his record backwards, and then proceeds to terrorize.
- In Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, the titular pick itself was crafted from one of the Devil's teeth, and was owned by some of the most famous guitar players in history. And then there's the movie's final song, a rock-off against Dave Grohl as the Devil, who really does play lead guitar and drums.
- "When heaven's in the music, hell is in control / The angels got the voices, but the Devil's got the rock 'n' roll" — from "Look What I Did to My Id", a song from Shock Treatment.
- The Witches of Eastwick, in which Jack Nicholson's Devil and Susan Sarandon's repressed music teacher play a literally explosive duet for piano and cello. After this (and after a bout of wild sex), the music teacher finds herself in possession of supernatural musical talent.
- Averted in Repossessed. The devil hates rock music, and it is this that eventually drives him from his host.
- The 1986 film Crossroads, starring Ralph Macchio, is built on the legend of Robert Johnson. Ralph plays a Julliard student whose real love is the blues, and particularly with the music of Willie "Blind Dog Fulton" Brown, played by Joe Seneca. Mr. Brown sold his soul for the ability to play blues harp; after breaking him out of an NYC nursing home and traveling to the Mississippi Delta, to get him out of the deal, Macchio goes double-or-nothing in a guitar duel against the devil's champion (played by Steve Vai). The soundtrack is a lot of awesome music by guitar master Ry Cooder.
- In The Apple the devil (by the name Mr. Boogalow) runs a disco music company by the name of BIM, which somehow manages to take over the world with its ridiculous music, even instituting a "National BIM Hour" where everyone has to dance to their music. It's not as dumb as it sounds, it's actually dumber.
- In O Brother, Where Art Thou??, Tommy Johnson makes his famous claim to have sold his soul At the Crossroads for his guitar skill. Satan appears as a villain throughout the film, though he shows no interest in music. (related to Robert Johnson.)
- Azazel, titular entity in Fallen possesses people just to do bad Mick Jagger impressions. And kill lots of people.
- Averted in Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell, a short by Dave Willis and Dana Snyder of Aqua Teen Hunger Force fame - after 100 million years of practicing (on a guitar made from the flesh and bones of virgins, no less), Satan still can't manage to play the Epic Riff from "Cinnamon Girl" without screwing up.
- A variation in The Lightning Thief. Hades has the appearance and mannerisms of a Heavy Metal star.
- Many Christian scare films have tried to paint rock and roll in this light. One of the more infamous is Rock: It's Your Decision, which details the story of a Christian boy who is persuaded that rock and roll is Satan's influence on youth through references to drug use, the homosexual lifestyle of some of the artists, and songs like "Dancing with Mr. D", "One of These Nights", and even "You Need a Woman Tonight" by The Captain and Tennille. It got mocked on an episode of DVD-R Hell.
- Subverted in Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare. A heavy metal band goes to practice at a farmhouse where the family that once lived in it died mysteriously years before. The Devil takes an interest, and kills the band off one member at a time... and then the lead singer, John Triton, reveals the truth. He's the Archangel Triton, the band was an illusion (modeled after horror film characters - Satan angrily comments that he should have recognized the bass player), and he's come to avenge the family that was killed. Yes, folks, it's Rock Me, Gabriel!
- Very much invoked in the New Zealand-made film Deathgasm. The protagonist stumbles upon some sheet music that when played, turns anyone within earshot into demons.
- One sequence in Bedazzled (1967) has Peter Cook grant Dudley Moore's wish that he can win his love through the irresistable means of becoming a pop singer. Alas, Satan then upstages Dudley by taking the stage of a show, not wholly unlike Top of the Pops, himself. "Drimble Wedge" - Satan as pop star - knocks everyone dead and the girls rush over the unheeded Dudley to get to him.
- Jareth, the Goblin King in Labyrinth, was explicitly designed to essentially be Satan as an irresistibly alluring rock star. Boy, did they ever nail that one — not least because he's played by David Bowie.
- In Good Omens, Crowley points out to Aziraphale that Hell has almost all of the good musicians. Oddly, even classical musicians. Including ones, like Bach, who dedicated all their work to God. Heaven has only Elgar and Liszt.
Can you imagine eternity with Elgar?Aziraphale shut his eyes. All too easily, he groaned.
- Inverted in the first part of John Dies at the End, where the extra-dimensional demonic Wigmonsters are disgusted by music. When the group sings "Sweet Child O' Mine" to distract them, they turn around and walk away. Dave (the one singing) notes that one even spat on him.
- Asmodean, one of the Forsaken in the Wheel of Time series, was a child virtuoso on multiple instruments, although he never really fulfilled that early promise (and turned to the Dark One in hopes that he'd eventually manage it if he were immortal). After Rand captures him, he spends a lot of time pretending to be a traveling entertainer.
- Usually inverted in the Silver John stories by Manly Wade Wellman, where it's implied the protagonist received his skills and silver-stringed guitar from a holy source. Played straight, however, in "Nine Yards of Other Cloth", where he is pitted against a man with an ebony fiddle from a very different source...
- John Hodgman notes that Steve Vai (in a reference to the "Crossroads" above) traded his soul to the devil for hot licks, then used aforementioned licks to try to kill Ralph Macchio, failing because his eyes were too doleful. It's that kind of book.
- Inverted in many of Lord Dunsany's stories, perhaps most poignantly (and hilariously) in A Moral Little Tale (go read it; it's too short to be summarized).
- The witches' dance that the anti-hero of Robert Burns Tam O'Shanter spies on has Satan playing the bagpipes to provide music.
- Although it was an Unbuilt Trope when The Screwtape Letters came out, the forces of Hell in that book are staunchly opposed to any music. That's because music is, above all, fun, and the demons hate fun. Silence is also unacceptable because it lets you think. They prefer good old-fashioned, irritating noise.
Screwtape: Music and silence! How I hate them both.
- CHiPs: The Season 6 episode "Rock Devil Rock," where a goth rock star named Moloch is being threatened when he begins hearing messages that "Moloch must die" (and they progressively become more ominous, including "Moloch WILL die!"). Although the moral rage aspect is briefly addressed, Moloch's alter-ego — a 20-year-old man named Mickey Northagen — and the officers realise the messages being subliminal and understood when Moloch's album is played backwards. Eventually, the cops and Northagen figure out that Moloch's morally corrupt, money-hungry record producer is planning to kill him during the filming of a Music Video so — as a result of what he figures will be a publicity stunt — he can make a huge profit with the sale of unheard of numbers of Moloch's goth rock album, and that the "Moloch must/will die" messages were created, backmasked and edited into the Moloch songs, so that teens can spend all their time listening to the songs and figuring out what it all means.
- The short-lived series A Year At The Top with Greg Evigan and Paul Shaffer was about a band which had sold their souls to the son of the Devil for one year of superstardom. Sadly, it didn't last long enough for anyone to find out what would have happened had the series been renewed for a second year.
- In a The Kids in the Hall sketch, a garage band kid battles Satan in a duel of rockers. Whereas the Devil is able to use six arms to play a blistering solo that would leave any guitar hero in tears, the hero is nonetheless able to blow his mind simply by playing the opening riff of "Smoke on the Water". Even though Satan is the frontman of Evil, Bobby had something Satan didn't have — a Wah-Wah pedal!
- G - A - B / G - A - B - A / G - A - B - B - A
- Inverted in a Saturday Night Live sketch, where Garth Brooks sells his soul to the Devil (Will Ferrel) for a hit song, but it turns out the Devil's songwriting and guitar skills both suck. The Prince of Darkness struggles to get his guitar in tune, and the best songs he has to offer are banal novelties like "Fred's Got Slacks," or just Smash Mouth songs with reworked lyrics. Interestingly, though, the Devil's sub-par skills end up inspiring a song, so he wound up helping after all.
- On Good Eats, Alton tells a legend about a blues singer who made a Deal with the Devil that helped him bring his music (and hot tamales) to the Mississippi Delta, in exchange for his soul. Alton then goes on to explain that at least the part about the hot tamales is a myth: that was not the result of a pact with Satan (or any other demonic force), but rather cultural exchange between Mexican and African-American laborers.
- Averted on The Good Place, where the demons' idea of fun Karaoke is reciting the Nixon tapes.
- Mephistopheles rocks in the opera Beethoven's Last Night.
- Pre-rock example: Irving Berlin's song "Pack Up Your Sins" suggests that "all the nice people" are having A Hell of a Time down there dancing to Satan's music, i.e. jazz.
- Charlie Daniels' song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" is one of the straightest examples, except that it's not rock guitar, but country fiddle playing. It nevertheless rocks, hard. To boot, the Devil's fiddle solo is accompanied by Rock and Roll music, while Charlie's solo is accompanied by folk music and Bluegrass.
- Expanded on in the sequel, "The Devil Comes Back to Georgia". Features more modern Country Rock from Travis Tritt, and "narration" by the late, great Johnny Cash. Instead of it being clear the devil lost, the musical duel plays out the song with no resolution.
- The Adam Ezra Group adapted Daniels' song into "The Devil Came Up to Boston", which not only plays up every Hollywood New England stereotype imaginable, but is a subversion in that it makes the Devil significantly less impressive; instead of a golden fiddle like the original, he tempts a young man into a fiddling contest with a lotto scratchcard and a pack of cigarettes... and he still loses.
- The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion frequently point out that they are not in the service of the devil. No one has ever accused them of such, but it sure makes for good lyrics.
- Tenacious D's song "Tribute" they are able to drive away the Shining Demon by playing the best song in the world.
- Finnish heavy metal band Lordi have basically made a career out of this, with such songs as The Devil is a Loser and Hard Rock Hallelujah.
- Or averted or even inverted it. Sure, Mr. Lordi looks demonic, but the actual devil is a loser (and his bitch).
- Orange Goblin has "You're Not The One (Who Can Save Rock & Roll)". A guitar player wants to save rock and roll, but the Devil tells him he can't because he doesn't have the blues. A decade later the guitar player's burned out and the Devil offers to give him the blues in exchange for his soul. He accepts, and becomes a rock and roll superstar, "singing the blues cos [he] ain't got no soul".
- Larry Norman, one of the pioneers of Christian Rock, wrote "Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?".
- The Kaizers Orchestra song "Begravelsespolka" (Burial Polka) is, according to All There in the Manual, sung by the devil. He is represented in the music video as a Man of Wealth and Taste with a torch and bowler hat, played by the vocalist.
- An official series of campaigns (the Revelations Cycle) for Steve Jackson Games' In Nomine starts with this trope. Lucifer promotes a minor demon to "Demon Prince of Hardcore."
- This may have been to mirror its French inspiration, In Nomine Satanis / Magna Veritas, which introduced said Demon Prince, Furfur, a while after its original edition.
- Delta Green has Charnel Dreams, the house band for NYC's Club Apocalypse. The band's lead singer/guitarist is a sorcerer, assassin, and worshiper of Nyarlathotep. The rest of the band either also worships dark gods or is willing to go along for the fame.
- Also, for several editions of Call of Cthulhu, one of the scenarios included in the main book was about a prohibition-era New Orleans jazz musician who'd been gifted a strange trumpet by (of course) Nyarlathotep. Said trumpet's music had the power to bring back the dead as violent zombies.
- There's also the adventure "The Evil Stars," where the leader of a rock band turns out to be a worshipper of Hastur.
- While he isn't the devil, Chaos God Slaanesh of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 fame granted his followers weaponised guitars, until those were changed into the sonic blasters of today. Why? Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll of course.
- Exalted: Music is always being played in Malfeas, the Demon City, mostly as a matter of survival. Malfeas loves music and dance, both as participant and audience, to the point where it's the only thing that can calm his Unstoppable Rage, but it also has the benefit of warding away Adorjan, the Silent Wind.
- Note, however, that Malfeas has very high standards, and anyone who performs poorly can expect to be crushed, incinerated, infected with a horrific illness, or trapped in horrific agony for a thousand years.
- Mage: The Awakening: Grimoire of Grimoires has a band composed of varying flavors of Satanist (who are generally no more evil than most mages). Their entry has an album that is more or less deliberately invoking this trope, including back-masked occult secrets combined with a spell that influences anyone listening to the record backward to rebel against authority.
- Emperor Doviculus from Brütal Legend isn't quite Satan, but he's a good enough substitute, and he rocks harder than anyone else with his quadruple-headed guitar.
- The final stage of Guitar Hero 3 is a rock-off against a demon who may or may not be the Devil but is your manager, Lou, with your band's souls on the line. Set to a rock cover of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia", no less. (Charlie Daniels thinks this use of his song is a perversion of it, and finds Guitar Hero 3's content for Lou's Inferno to be shocking and inappropriate. No, really.)
- The trailer for the Neverwinter Nights 2 mod Lute Hero is presented not by Lord of Darkness himself, but Death fills his role instead.
- In the sequence where the Lute Hero system was implemented in Dark Waters, you do end up visiting Hell at one point, where you meet a character who claims to be Satan's prepubescent daughter and who is the only divine figure who doesn't complain about how horrible your music is.
- In the bonus ending of Warcraft III's expansion pack, The Frozen Throne, Arthas the fallen prince and newly-crowned Lich King rocks out to L80ETC's "Power of the Horde".
- Made Hilarious in Hindsight when Arthas became an unlockable character in the final Guitar Hero game, Warriors of Rock.
- In the Kingdom of Loathing, an optional side quest involves finding appropriate music to perform before Satan. "Appropriate music" is, naturally, Heavy Metal.
"Oh, evil Satan
oscillate my metallic
sonatas live. Ho!"
- Not immediately obvious, but this is, in fact, palindrome haiku. Astounding.
- Quickie: if you look closer, you'll see that the middle words ("Satan oscillate my metallic sonatas"), when put together, give you the title of a Soundgarden EP that was packaged with Badmotorfinger in its 1992 re-release.
- Not immediately obvious, but this is, in fact, palindrome haiku. Astounding.
- Darkstalkers gives us Lord Raptor, a metal rocker who wrote occult text into his songs. At his final concert, he killed his audience and himself, and a demon lord was impressed enough to grant him undeath.
- Played with in The Conduit by Fang Jorgenson, host of the "Fang Bang Metal" radio show. He starts off as a stereotypical heavy metal DJ, but as the game's Alien Invasion proceeds, he interprets it with unrestrained glee as a demonic uprising.
"So it comes down to this, the attacks are not done by terrorists after all. They are demons here to take the world for the Lightbringer! The Bug has plagued the masses. Demons are attackin' on our streets. Death seems to be at every turn. We may live to see the end of days!"
- He's not the Devil herself, but Devoto: Music in Hell revolves around a pianist's Deal with the Devil.
- Inverted and taken Up to Eleven by Headbanged, where Jesus plays the drums, is a huge fan of black metal, and is apparently friends with Gaahl, an (in)famous black metal musician. Satan, however, hates metal and prefers easy listening - pop at the heaviest.
- Similarly, Penny Arcade has established that Jesus is "fucking metal".
- It should be noted that the awesomeness of rock (and metal) is pretty much the only point that Jesus and Satan agree on.
- In DevilBear, Bearalzebub does this when challenged to a music duel (by some souls trying to get out of their Deal with the Devil).
- In Adventurers!, the electric guitar is the instrument of "dark musical arts". Villain The Axe plays it.
- An episode of American Dad! ends with a guy proving he went to hell because he came back with a guitar with a goat skull on it.
- Metalocalypse explored that concept: When Dethklok are forced to sell their souls to the Blues Devil for blues fame, they end up negotiating the contract so that he would only get a $5 gift card for Hot Topic (plus he would even have to give them part of his soul). He understandably does not take the deal. Later, they end up destroying his car during a performance (having summoned a tornado with their music).
- ReBoot: In the episode "Talent Night", Megabyte rocks the hell out, and then has a guitar duel with Bob. This scene wouldn't look too out of place in Guitar Hero—and keep in mind, this show predates Guitar Hero by about a decade.
- Robot Devil in Futurama loves music of all kinds.
- The Squidbillies episode "Mephistopheles Traveled Below To A Southern State Whose Motto is Wisdom, Justice and Moderation" features the Squid Devil teaching Rusty how to play guitar, and this version of Beelzebub can rock pretty hard. He plays a song called "Hoofprints," which features the following line: "As I ram your carcass through an impossibly small hole into a sea of flaming hot human feces, when you can't draw a breath, yet your lungs are filled with that same flaming hot human feces."
- Rusty and Early also gain incredible guitar playing abilities (Early plays so fast the strings turn white hot), at the cost of sucking the town into hell and both of them turning into horrific demons.
- The Simpsons
- In an episode of where Bart goes to hell in a near-death experience, the Devil amicably advises him, upon leaving, to "lie, cheat, steal, and listen to heavy metal music!"
Bart: Everyone knows all the best bands are affiliated with Satan.
- The "Odyssey" segment of the "overdue library book" episode uses this for an atrocious yet hilarious punchline. In it, Odysseus (Homer) learns that he and his crew must cross the river Styx. They get there and find the hordes of the undead writhing and rocking to (what else!) Styx's "Lady." Odysseus moans:
Homer: Oh, no, this really is Hell!
- In an episode of where Bart goes to hell in a near-death experience, the Devil amicably advises him, upon leaving, to "lie, cheat, steal, and listen to heavy metal music!"
- In the Looney Tunes cartoon "Three Little Bops," The Big Bad Wolf finally learns how to play a hot jazz trumpet when he goes to Hell, and the Aesop is pronounced: "You gotta get hot to play real cool."
- Despite being the Anti Anti Christ, Beezy on Jimmy Two-Shoes is apparently quite good at playing an invisible rock guitar.
- In God, the Devil and Bob, the Devil is asked about this, and says he's more of a Burt Bacharach type.
- This◊ shirt.
- And this Marilyn Manson shirt.
Warning: the music of Marilyn Manson contains messages that will
in your impressionable teenage minds. As a result, you could be convinced to
KILL YOUR MOM & DAD
and eventually, in an act of hopeless 'rock and roll' behavior, you will
Please burn your records while there's still hope.
- Subverted by an old Weekly World News article, which claimed that the Devil has switched to Gangsta Rap as his personal genre because he felt that rock music nowadays was for pussies.
- There was a documentary about "the evils of rock and roll" called Hell's Bells, which claimed that rock musicians are possessed by the Devil when they write and/or perform their songs. There was a sequel, released in 2001, titled Hell's Bells 2, which suggested that many rock bands promoted LaVeyan Satanism through their general attitude, even though most of the bands they described probably had little to no actual knowledge of LaVeynote .
- Bill Hicks had a routine on this trope, called "play from your heart". Basically he claimed that if the choice was between rock and the Devil and going to Heaven and listening to New Kids on the Block, he'd pick the Devil.
- Varg Vikernes criticizes this trope on his website. He argues that Black Metal is not, nor can ever have been Satanic, because "Satanism", as it were, has never existed. Every recorded case of Satanism or Devil Worship before modern times has actually been genuine Pagan practices which have been demonized as "Satanism" by the Church.