The Rolling Stones have lost their appetite for “Brown Sugar” … or at least their appetite for dealing with woke blowback — they’re retiring their classic tune due to its slavery depictions.
The Stones are 5 shows into their “No Filter” tour but a journalist noticed the band has not played the track at all in that span. That’s huge … considering “Brown Sugar” is reportedly the Stones’ second-most performed song over the last 50 years … at 1,136 times.
The issue is the 1971 track is all about the slave trade — specifically, slavers raping enslaved Black women — and shockingly, that’s something many fans of the song don’t even realize.
The opening verse is, “Gold Coast slave ship bound for cotton fields. Sold in the market down in New Orleans. Scarred old slaver knows he’s doin’ all right. Hear him whip the women just around midnight.”
And, of course, the famous chorus goes … ”Brown Sugar, how come you taste so good. Brown Sugar, just like a young girl should.”
But, Keith Richards told the L.A. Times the song isn’t glorifying slavery. The guitarist said, “I’m trying to figure out with the sisters quite where the beef is. Didn’t they understand this was a song about the horrors of slavery? But, they’re trying to bury it. At the moment I don’t want to get into conflicts with all of this s***.”
While the Stones might legitimately be trying to document the horrors of slavery, it sure doesn’t come across that way when Mick Jagger and stadiums full of fans jump, clap and sing-along with those lyrics.
Anyway, it’s not totally dead. Mick added, “Sometimes you think, ‘We’ll take that one out for now and see how it goes.’ We might put it back in.”
Translation: If, by some miracle, Mick and Keith outlive woke culture they’ll play “Brown Sugar” again.
Fun Fact: the song they’ve played the most live is “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” Until “toothless bearded hags” rise up, they’ll keep playing that one.