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Rolling Stones Drop Hit ‘Brown Sugar’ From Setlist Over ‘Racist’ Lyrics

The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have announced they will stop performing their 50-year-old hit 'Brown Sugar,' because of its 'racist' lyrics. 
Credit: @mickjagger/@officialkeef/Instagram

The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have announced they will stop performing their 50-year-old hit ‘Brown Sugar,’ because of its ‘racist’ lyrics. 

The 1969 track is the second most played in their catalogue after ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash,’ having been performed 1,136 times, according to Rolling Stone magazine.

The band is currently playing a 13-date US tour. Responding to questions about why the song was absent from their set, Richards told The Los Angeles Times: “You picked up on that, huh?

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“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***.”

He then added: “But I’m hoping that we’ll be able to resurrect the babe in her glory somewhere along the track.”

“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,” said the band’s frontman Jagger.

The last time the band played the song live was August 30, 2019, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

It has been controversial from the start, and the band has revised the lyrics several times.

It was originally titled ‘Black P****,’ but Jagger decided that name was too ‘nitty-gritty’ before its release.

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The phrasing was originally sung as ‘Brown Sugar, how come you taste so good? / Ah, got me feelin’ now for brown sugar, just like a black girl should’.

In later recordings, the band swapped the words ‘black girl’ for ‘young girl,’ with the lead singer saying he was ‘uncomfortable’ with the lyrics in an interview from 1995.

He said: “God knows what I’m on about in that song, It’s such a mishmash. All the nasty subjects in one go.

“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’.”

In 2015, Vulture described the song as ‘gross, sexist, and stunningly offensive toward black women’.

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