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Thu, 10.14.2021

‘Brown Sugar’ (the song) By The Rolling Stones is Retired

Album The Song Appears On

*On this date in 2021, The Rolling Stones band retired their hit song Brown Sugar from their current tour, for now.

This was over “conflicts” surrounding the controversial lyrics that depict slavery, rape, and drugs, guitarist Keith Richards confirmed. Brown Sugar" was written primarily by Mick Jagger, it is the opening track and lead single from their album Sticky Fingers (1971).  Rolling Stone magazine ranked it number 495 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and at number five on its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time.

Jagger wrote it in 1969. According to Marsha Hunt, Jagger's then-girlfriend and the mother of his first child Karis, he wrote the song with her in mind. Former Ikette Claudia Lennear says that it was written about her. In 2019, music producer Ian Brennan wrote a piece for The Chicago Tribune condemning the song for its lyrics, calling out the themes of "slavery, rape, torture and pedophilia" heard in "Brown Sugar" and calling for the song to be pulled from the radio and the band's setlist.

Brennan wrote: "The violence and stereotypes depicted by the lyrics of the Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar" are repulsive, yet the song continues to be broadcast without a peep by radio stations around the world and is blasted in cafes, airports, gyms, shopping centers, and the ilk, even now well into the #MeToo and #TimesUp era."  

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