Why Has It Taken So Long For The Rolling Stones To Remove Brown Sugar From Their Setlist?

In 1995 Mick Jagger told Rolling Stone: 'I never would write that song now.'

Rolling Stones

by Bonnie McLaren |

The Rolling Stones have finally said they are removing the song Brown Sugar from their setlist. Some have welcomed the song being phased out from their sets, but many are asking why it's taken so long for the track to be removed from live performances.

The song, which sexualises Black women, features opening lines referencing a woman being sold into slavery and has been criticised for 'glorifying slavery, rape, torture and pedophilia'. It was originally released in 1971, and reached Number 2 on the UK charts and Number 1 in the US.

Despite criticism, it has continued to be a part of their sets and played on radio stations. That's even though in 1995 Mick Jagger told Rolling Stone: '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". God knows what I'm on about on that song. It's such a mishmash. All the nasty subjects in one go.'

Writing in 2019 for the Chicago Tribune, record producer Ian Brennan summarised the problem with the song being played to arenas, saying: 'Imagine everyone in a sold-out stadium singing along joyfully to a tune glorifying slavery, rape, torture and pedophilia, with the entire chorus led by a hyper-gesticulating 75-year-old white male, centimillionaire. It sounds like something out of a dystopian horror film or a tale of 19th century-era evil.'

Speaking to the LA Times, Jagger confirmed that it was being taken from the set, 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."' Before adding: 'We might put it back in.' Obviously Piers Morgan has had something unhelpful to say, writing for the MailOnline that Jagger was responding to 'the woke brigade'.

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