Following the controversy over its lyrics on slavery, Rolling Stones will no longer perform their iconic track, Brown Sugar at their concerts. Fans are set to be deprived of the group’s 1971 number one hit, as they have removed it from their setlist. The track is widely considered to include one of rock’s best riffs in history.
It has been said that the lyrics to the track explore “the horrors of slavery”, as well as acts of sexual assault and drug usage. When asked recently about the decision to remove the fan favoured track from their setlist, Stones’ guitarist, Keith Richards quipped to reporters; “You picked up on that, huh?”.
“I don’t know. 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***… but I’m hoping that we’ll be able to resurrect the babe in her glory, somewhere along the track.”
Lead singer, Mick Jagger added that the band has played Brown Sugar “every night since 1970. So, sometimes you think, ‘we’ll take that one out for now and see how it goes’. We might put it back in.”
Members of the band each love the track, explaining it highlights the issues and was not created to promote them. However, critics have described the lyrics as “some of the most stunningly crude and offensive lyrics that have ever been written”. They have also said that it is “gross, sexist, and stunningly offensive toward black women”.
In a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Jagger said; “I never would write that song now… I would probably censor myself. I’d think, ‘oh God, I can’t. I’ve got to stop. I can’t just write raw like that’.”
According to Setlist.fm, Brown Sugar is the second most played song on a Stones tour, behind Jumpin’ Jack Flash. The group’s latest tour has already kicked off in the US, marking the first set of gigs for the band in two years. The tour is also the first live shows that Rolling Stones have performed since the death of drummer, Charlie Watts.