Brown Sugar is a fan favorite. The opening track of the album, ‘Sticky Fingers’ (1971) is a staple of the band. Without it, The Rolling Stones concert is a coarse subject still, no one hears this hit song in a live performance. Mick Jagger always tries his best to distract himself from this track. The reason behind it is filled with controversies.
Back in 71, Brown Sugar was the number-one song in the US and Canada. But the dis-attachment Mick has with the track has always intrigued the fans. The meaning of the song is deeper than any of us have ever imagined.
It was recorded over a three-day period at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama in 1969. Initially called ‘Black Pussy’, it is a song that shouldn’t have been written at all. Jagger has also revealed that he doesn’t know why he wrote it. The song has existed for more than 50 years and now, The Rolling Stones have decided to cut off ‘Brown Sugar’ from their concert setlists.
According to Far Out Magazine, Black Pussy was supposed to be a song about the slaves sold in New Orleans who were raped by their masters. The lyrics “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,” explains the horrible, gross, and racist matters.
Jagger has always talked about the song. Interestingly, Jagger doesn’t know why he wrote ‘Brown Sugar’. He also thought the name ‘Black Pussy’ would be too ‘nitty-gritty’ and went on with ‘Brown Sugar’. Mick wrote the song while filming Ned Kelly in Australia. In an interview with Rolling Stones, he revealed, “God knows what I’m on about in that song. It’s such a mishmash. All the nasty subjects in one go.” It was back in 1995 and said, The song was a “very instant thing.”
If the song were to release today in modern times, The Rolling Stones would have been canceled without a doubt. Regarding this matter, Vulture had an article about it in 2015. The article said, “the backlash would be instant. Twitter would lampoon them with carefully thought-out hashtags. Multiple Change.org petitions would be signed. The band would be forced to issue an apology.”
Vulture explains how the song is gross, sexist, and stunningly offensive toward black women. At the same time, the song’s original name ‘Black Pussy’ is also mentioned. Seems like Vulture also got their way around and explained how the Rolling Stones have tried to defend themselves. The article explains that ‘the rush regarding the song’ is just a way to defend the unpleasant song.
the matter regarding ‘Brown Sugar’ getting cut off from their concert setlist.
There was no certainty that this song would succeed. When Jagger was asked about how and why this particular song worked. Jagger said, “It’s a good groove and all that.” He also added, he would not dare to write a song like ‘Brown Sugar’ today.
During his interview with Rolling Stone, he talked about the song. He said, “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.'” Back in the day, it was not a big deal. They have performed the song live many times already. But for now, they have left their hit song out of their setlists. When asked why?
Keith Richards says he has no idea why. Richards said to the LA Times, “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 sh**. But I’m hoping that we’ll be able to resurrect the babe in her glory somewhere along the track.”
Disputes have surely surfaced regarding the song. But the band has tried their best to explain their part of the story. They say it is about all the horrible treatment black women used to get. We believe their work was merely a creative exploration alongside real-life events. But still regardless of things, it is one of the nastiest songs to exist in the world of rock.