Keith Richards Opens Up About Why They're Nixing "Brown Sugar" From Future Shows
As Bob Dylan would like to remind us, "Oh the times they are a-changin'!" In 1969, UK rock sensation The Rolling Stones came out with the smash hit "Brown Sugar," and since then have practically played that song in almost every show. Now, guitarist Keith Richards is revealing some meaning behind the song, and why they won't be playing it again any time soon!
It's 1969, you're sitting down and turning on your record player to one of the hottest bands, The Rolling Stones! Now, 50 years later, the band is reconsidering some of their top hits and the lyrics they feature, more specifically their major hit "Brown Sugar."
Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, the band's biggest staples, are performing their "No Filter" tour at the moment, and despite always including the single in previous shows, have yet to perform "Brown Sugar."
Keith Richards confirms a more inclusive setlist
Still rocking out as if it's the '70s, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger are stomping on stage once again for their long-awaited "No Filter" tour, but have noticeably removed the 1969 No. 1 single, "Brown Sugar", and it's been done on purpose!
Richards confirmed to the Los Angels Times that for the foreseeable future the band won't be performing that song again, because of references to slavery.
"You picked up on that, huh?" the 77-year-old rocker said when asked why they haven't performed it yet, considering it's usually a staple to their live performances.
"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," he continued.
"At the moment I don't want to get into conflicts with all of this s**t," he commented.
The lyrics open up with, "Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields/Sold in the market down in New Orleans /Scarred old slaver knows he's doing alright/Hear him whip the women just around midnight/Brown sugar, how come you taste so good?"
While it's obvious what the song is about, many weren't aware of its darker undertones. And while the song doesn't glorify slavery, it can be interpreted as insensitive.
"I'm hoping that we'll be able to resurrect the babe in her glory somewhere along the track," Richards said.
Jagger piped in and said, "We've 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," he said to the Times.
This isn't the first time The Rolling Stones have been criticized for the song, in 1995 Mick Jagger said to Rolling Stone magazine that he wouldn't ever write it if it was a different decade.
"I never would write that song now. I would probably censor myself," he said to the magazine at the time.
This came after airwaves were criticized for putting such a gruesome song on the radio so nonchalantly.
Their "No Filter" tour kicked off on September 26 and will continue until November 20 in Austin, Texas. This is their first tour since their drummer, Charlie Watts, passed away this past summer.