Every day it costs more to recognize The Rolling Stones. To the recent absence due to death of Charlie Watts, the band’s famous drummer and one of its original members, political correctness is now added to the point of removing from his songbook Brown Sugar , one of the group’s most famous compositions, an emblem of the sound and irreverence of the most important rock formation on the planet.
The news has been known through an interview with the members of the band published by the newspaper Los Angeles Times . When asked why Brown Sugar has stopped playing in the repertoire of the current US tour, Keith Richards could not help but let go. “Didn’t you realize that this song is about the horrors of slavery? They are trying to bury her. For now, I don’t want to get in trouble with all that shit, but I hope we can resurrect that beauty in all its glory on this tour, “said the guitarist, who did not agree very much with the decision. Right after, Mick Jagger, always more correct and with an entrepreneurial vision about the group above the hooligan and carefree of Richards, pointed out: “We have played Brown Sugar in all our concerts since 1970, and sometimes we say: ‘Let’s remove this And see what happen’. The list of songs for a stadium tour is complicated. ”
The list is complicated, but it also seems to be justifying why one of the group’s most recognized songs is withdrawn , a fixture in their concerts for decades since it was premiered in 1969 at Altmont’s disastrous free concert, when the Stones had to flee the Californian desert by helicopter before the riots caused by Los Angeles del Infierno, hired by the gang as security guards and who stabbed a young black man to death. It was the words of Keith Richards that have hinted that the group does not want problems with the culture of cancellation in its current tour No Filter , a traveling show in the US which was launched in 2017, but had to be stopped due to the pandemic. It resumed last month to offer the last 13 concerts.
Brown Sugar has always been also one of the most controversial songs on The Rolling Stones. His lyrics bring together a host of controversial images when referring to slavery, rape, machismo, violence and drugs. In fact, the lyrics directly allude to the torture and sexual enslavement to which African-American women were subjected in the cotton plantations: “Slave ships on the gold coast bound for the cotton fields / Sold in the market in the city of New Orleans / Old scarred slave traders know they are doing it right / Hear them whipping women around midnight. ”
Jagger himself, who sometimes he has changed the lyrics at concerts, he has come to deny it in interviews like the one he gave in December of 1995 to the magazine Rolling Stone : “God only knows what I’m talking about in that song! It’s a jumble of all the unpleasant things at once … I didn’t think about it at the time. Now I would never write that song again … Because I would probably censor myself. I’d think, ‘Oh God, I can’t. I have to stop. I can’t write gross things like that. ” Jagger has already censored the title of the composition, which refers to a cunnilingus and was originally called Black Pussy (black pussy).
Like its different interpretations, there are also discrepancies in how it was composed. Jagger, who could have been inspired by one of his girlfriends at the time, the black singer Marsha Hunt, has always said that it was written during his stay in Australia when he was shooting the movie The Kelly Brothers , in which the singer played Ned Kelly, one of the best-known bandits and criminals of the 19th century. However, both Keith Richards and Jim Dickinson, who was part of the recording playing the piano, claimed that he released the lyrics on the same day as the recording at Muscle Shoals studios in Alabama. The only certain thing is that, at that time, drugs dominated the existence of the Stones who used to compose and record highs of coca and heroin. It has even been claimed that it refers to heroin.
Sin Brown Sugar, played in almost 1. 300 concerts, neither Charlie Watts, essential face of the band replaced by Steve Jordan, The Rolling Stones are a little away from themselves. In addition, Paul McCartney has stated in another recent interview in Rolling Stone that the group led by Jagger and Richards is “a band of versions of ‘blues”. “I’m not sure I should say it, but they are a band of covers of ‘blues, that’s what the Stones are,” said the former singer and bassist of The Beatles, a band that, according to McCartney, had “a network of wider influences ”than that of The Rolling Stones.