The Scorpion (song)

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"The Scorpion"
Single by Megadeth
from the album The System Has Failed
Released 2005[1]
Recorded 2004
Genre Heavy metal
Length 3:59[2] (radio edit) 6:00 (album version)
Label Sanctuary
Writer(s) Dave Mustaine
Producer(s) Jeff Balding, Dave Mustaine
Megadeth singles chronology
"Of Mice and Men"
"The Scorpion"
"À Tout le Monde (Set Me Free)"

"The Scorpion" (sometimes shortened to simply "Scorpion") is a 2004 song by the American thrash metal band Megadeth, written by Dave Mustaine. It was the third and final single off their 2004 album The System Has Failed, which was released on September 14, 2004.[3] Unlike the other two singles on the album ("Die Dead Enough" and "Of Mice and Men"), it did not receive a music video and failed to chart on Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks.[4]

The song was played during their Blackmail the Universe tour that began in October 2004 but since 2006, it has fallen off their regular set list.[5]


Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine suffered a freak injury in January 2002, and announced through a press release on April 3 that he was disbanding the band due to his radial neuropathy, which left him unable to grasp or even make a fist with his left hand.[6] In order to fulfill contract obligations with the band's European label EMI, he was forced to release one more album under the "Megadeth" name, which would later become The System Has Failed.[7] Mustaine recruited original Megadeth member Chris Poland and the drummer Vinnie Colaiuta to help record the album,[8] and after the Blackmail the Universe tour Mustaine decided to not disband the band and continued recording as Megadeth.[8] Dave, Chris Poland, Vinnie Colaiuta, along with Jimmie Lee Sloas, form the personnel for "The Scorpion".[8]

The song was chosen as the third single off the album in 2005, but did not receive a music video. However, to help promote the song as a single, it was played live by the band during their Blackmail the Universe tour, but has not been played since, like most songs off the album.[5] Despite the promotion, the song failed to chart on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks, which was Megadeth's first single to do so in over a decade, since "Skin o' My Teeth".[4] This made it the final single on the album, and it was not until 2010 that Megadeth managed to chart again, with their song "The Right to Go Insane".[4][9] The song however was not without its influence, as the answer section on the official Megadeth website was named after the song and bears the image of the single cover art.[1][10]

Lyrical meaning[edit]

After being asked by a fan (who believed the song to have been written about one-night stands),[11] the band revealed that the song was actually based on Aesop's Fables, a parable about destructive nature.[11] The Scorpion and the Frog forms the direct lyrical basis for the song, as the song documents the tale.[11] The Scorpion and the Frog is a fable of unknown author, attributed to various West African folktales.[12] The story is about a scorpion asking a frog to carry him across a river. The frog is afraid of being stung, but the scorpion reassures him that if it stung, the frog would sink and the scorpion would drown as well. The frog then agrees; nevertheless, in mid-river, the scorpion stings him, dooming them both. When asked why, the scorpion explains, "I'm a scorpion; it's my nature." There is also a variation[13][14] in which the final words of the scorpion are "It is better we should both perish than that my enemy should live."

The chorus is the largest example of how the song was inspired by the story. "As I climb onto your back, I will promise not to sting" refers to the scorpion climbing onto the back of the frog and telling it that it won't be harmed.[15] "I will tell you what you want to hear and not mean anything" refers to the lies told by the scorpion to insure assistance by the frog, and "Then I treat you like a dog as I shoot my venom in" is the line signifying the frog being struck by the scorpion.[16] The end of the story documents the scorpion's explanation for stinging the frog, with "You pretend you didn't know that I am a scorpion".[11][15]


The artwork for the single erroneously shows a scorpion with only 6 legs - being an arachnid, the scorpion should have 8 legs. This was referenced by broadcaster David Dimbleby when he made the same error with a tattoo he had inked on his back. Asked if he was planning to rectify the error in his tattoo, he stated "I'm no David Attenborough, I didn't spot that. But apparently there's a thrash metal band called Megadeth in America and Megadeth have a six-legged [scorpion], so I'm now a fan of Megadeth."[17]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "The Scorpion" (Radio Edit) - 3:59
  2. "The Scorpion" (Album Version) – 6:00


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Various (2005). "The Scorpion". Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  2. ^ Various (2005). "MEGADETH The Scorpion". Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  3. ^ "Megadeth – 44 The System Has Failed". Lastfm. Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  4. ^ a b c "Megadeth > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Macrovision. Retrieved January 5, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "Blackmail the Universe Tour Setlist". Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  6. ^ Dave Mustaine (2002-04-03). "Megadeth Disbands after 20 years". Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  7. ^ Nalbandian, Bob. "Dave Mustaine Interview", August 28, 2004, Hard, reported by Hard Retrieved November 19, 2006.
  8. ^ a b c Orpheus Spiliotopoulos (2004-06-21). "Interview with Dave Mustaine from Megadeth". Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  9. ^ Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks (2010-09-16). "The Right to Go Insane charts at 34". Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  10. ^ The Scorpion (2010). "The Scorpion". Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  11. ^ a b c d The Scorpion (2005-01-16). "What is The Scorpion about?". Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  12. ^ "The Farmer and the Viper". Hausa tales and traditions: an English translation of 'Tatsuniyoyi no Hausa'. p. 416. Retrieved 2010-08-01 Retrieved via Google Books. 
  13. ^ "The Scorpion and the Fox". 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  14. ^ "better we should both perish". 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  15. ^ a b "The Scorpion Lyrics". 2004. Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  16. ^ "The Scorpion Lyrics". 2004. Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  17. ^ "David Dimbleby says 'I'm a fan of Megadeth after getting my six-legged scorpion tattoo' Check out all the latest News, Sport & Celeb gossip at Follow us: @DailyMirror on Twitter | DailyMirror on Facebook". Mirror. Retrieved 15 November 2013. 

External links[edit]