Dave Mustaine says that inspiration for this song came when he was watching The Manchurian Candidate.
The film is an American Cold War suspense thriller that was released in 1962 at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It tells the story of the son of a prominent right-wing political family who has been brainwashed to be an unwitting assassin for an international Communist conspiracy. The song makes a similar point that anyone can be propped up as a political leader and controlled by those how put him in power
This song came very quickly to Dave Mustaine, who says he was driving home when inspiration struck. He’s told different stories about his canvas for the lyrics (a receipt for sushi, his arrest paperwork), but he wrote the chorus in the car and finished the song after he arrived home.
This song is about political leaders who essentially puppets for the powerful organizations that control them. It relates to military dictatorships, but also to democratically elected leaders.
As Dave Mustaine points out in the song, the problem is not just the leaders, but also the people who blindly follow them. These politicians, once they gain power, lead a “symphony of destruction” that the people follow, often to their own detriment.
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