The 1971 classic from the Sticky Fingers album has now been recognized as “problematic” in the current climate
In an industry that is known for ups and downs, permanent changes and capricious trends, hardly anything is as reliable as a Rolling Stones classic that is confidently smashed by the legends of the 60s.
However, it appears that Mick Jagger, 78, and Keith Richards, 77, are dropping “Brown Sugar” from future shows – and it is questionable whether it will ever be seen on a live set again.
The 1971 classic was largely absent from the shows on her most recent US tour.
Despite the song’s popularity, it has long been criticized for its lyrics that make allusions to slavery and rape. They include:
“Gold Coast slave ship heading for cotton fields / Sold in New Orleans market / The scarred old slave trader knows he’s fine / Hear him whipping women around midnight.”
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times recently, Jagger confirmed that the song should take a break. “We’ve been playing ‘Brown Sugar’ every night since 1970, so sometimes you think, ‘Let’s take this out and see how it goes,'” he said. “We could put it back in.”
Keith Richards, who belts out the song’s opening riff with typical aplomb on his longtime Fender Telecaster, had a different perspective: “Didn’t you understand that this is a song about the horrors of slavery? But they’re trying to bury it. Right now, I don’t want to get into conflict with all that shit.
The track first appeared on the 1971 album Sticky fingers together with Stones classics like “Honky Tonk Women”, “Wild Horses” and “Midnight Rambler”.
Some have interpreted the lyrics differently over the years, with theories claiming it was Jagger’s nine-month affair with backing vocalist Marsh Hunt, as well as the group’s own affair with drugs.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Mick Jagger said: “Brown sugar is heroin and … the whole mess” [is] thrown in. God knows what I’m up to in this song It’s such a mishmash. All nasty topics at once. “
In the 1995 interview he claimed that he would “never write this song now” and “I would probably censor myself. I thought, ‘Oh god, I can’t. I have to stop. I can’t just write so roughly. ‘”
The turmoil comes as the group resumes a live tour without founding member and drummer Charlie Watts, who died in August at the age of 80.