Megadeth‘s Dave Mustaine is more than just a shred king. He’s also a surprisingly underrated lyricist, crafting thought-provoking songs like “Peace Sells,” “Holy Wars,” and “Symphony of Destruction.” But one of his most misunderstood works resides within the 1994 album Youthanasia– the hauntingly beautiful “A Tout le Monde.”

Translated from French, the title simply means “To everyone.” However, the chorus, “A tout le monde, a tous mes amis, je vous aime, je dois partir,” has drawn misinterpretations, with some believing it promotes suicide, as it translates to “To everyone, to all my friends, I love you, I must go.” This misconception reached its peak in 2006 when a gunman referencing the song carried out a tragic shooting in Montreal, killing two people (including himself) and injuring 19 others.

In a recent interview with Spin, Mustaine clarified the true meaning behind the lyrics: a dream where his mother, after passing away suddenly, returns to Earth with one final message – “I love you.” He envisioned that if he could do the same after his own passing, his parting words would also be of love, not trivial matters.

“It was basically about a dream I had where… My mom had died suddenly, and it was very shocking. And in my dream, my mom was able to come back to earth and say one thing only. And that one thing was, ‘I love you.’ And I thought that would be great if I was able when I go to heaven to come back and say one thing to the people who I love – I would want to say, ‘I love you.’ I wouldn’t want to say, like, ‘Don’t touch that’ – you know, something stupid. I would rather it be something meaningful.” Mustaine explained.

“Unfortunately, in Canada, there was some controversy around the song, but I handled it,” he added. “I said I was not going to let that guy try and take my song away from the people I wrote it for. And that thing kind of went away – trying to blame us for that. It was much like the Judas Priest thing that happened a long time ago [referring to when Priest went to trial to prove they were not liable for the deaths of two young men who cited the band’s music as the reason they killed themselves]. But I think the song’s a beautiful song, and people love it.”

“A Tout le Monde” has been recorded twice by Megadeth – once in its original form and again in a duet with Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia on the 2007 album United Abominations. So, next time you are singing the chorus, remember it’s a song of farewell, not despair.

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