‘Brown Sugar’ not on current Rolling Stones setlist

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ASPartOfMe
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16 Oct 2021, 4:40 am

Rolling Stones pull 'Brown Sugar,' song with lyrics about slavery, from live performances

Quote:
The Rolling Stones dropped "Brown Sugar" from their concert setlist, saying they fear 21st century fans won't grasp that the tune is about "the horrors of slavery" and not celebrating it.

In an interview published last week in the Los Angeles Times, guitarist Keith Richards confirmed the song's status after a reporter noticed its conspicuous absence from the group's current "No Filter" tour.

"You picked up on that, huh?" Richards said.

The song's out of rotation for now, but Richards and Mick Jagger said it has not been permanently canned.

"I don't know. I'm trying to figure out with the sisters quite where the beef is," Richards told the paper. "Didn't they understand this was a song about the horrors of slavery? But they're trying to bury it."

The song's first lyrics paint a stark picture of the slave trade

The fan favorite hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts on May 29, 1971.

“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,’” Jagger, the Stones frontman and writer of the song, told the Times. "We might put it back in.”

Daphne Brooks, director of graduate studies at Yale University’s Department of African American Studies, counts herself as a longtime Rolling Stones fan but said the fetishizing of Black women in “Brown Sugar” — and of Puerto Rican women in “Miss You,” another Stones song — has always troubled her.

The inspiration for "Brown Sugar" has been alternately assigned to one of two singers who have been affiliated with Jagger, Claudia Lennear and Marsha Hunt.

"When he wrote it, it didn't suggest to me he was the one, he was the slave owner. It wasn't his point of view," Lennear told NBC News on Wednesday. "I don't think he was celebrating slavery at all. If anything he was celebrating having a sexual encounter with somebody, you know, like, 'Woo, woo,' he scored."

And just as a music fan, Lennear, a member of the The Ikettes who backed up Ike and Tina Turner, said she's sorry to hear the song has been dropped even temporarily.

"I mean, that hook, 'Brown sugar, how come you taste so good now?' That's fun to hear. That's fun to dance to," Lennear said.


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cyberdad
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17 Oct 2021, 1:50 am

I always thought he wrote the song for the mother of his first daughter, Marsha Hunt?



kraftiekortie
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17 Oct 2021, 1:52 am

They should play it. It’s a classic. Another instance of PC gone too far.



cyberdad
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17 Oct 2021, 1:56 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
They should play it. It’s a classic. Another instance of PC gone too far.

well clearly they aren't playing it, so that horse has bolted.



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17 Oct 2021, 3:17 am

cyberdad wrote:
kraftiekortie wrote:
They should play it. It’s a classic. Another instance of PC gone too far.

well clearly they aren't playing it, so that horse has bolted.




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17 Oct 2021, 5:02 am

It's not like anyone could understand the lyrics anyway.


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kraftiekortie
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17 Oct 2021, 6:08 am

I’m not good at understanding lyrics…but I can understand many of the Stones’ records pretty well.



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17 Oct 2021, 1:22 pm

I think Mick has final say on whether or not he still feels comfortable singing any given song. Racial fetishes are pretty cringe, so where exactly does the problem exist with reevaluating if the song should still be performed?


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17 Oct 2021, 8:20 pm

funeralxempire wrote:
Racial fetishes are pretty cringe, so where exactly does the problem exist with reevaluating if the song should still be performed?


My problem would be evaluating it on a metric other than "does it sound good?", much as I object to rating comedy on any standard besides "is it funny?". Funny enough, my favorite Stones track, Under My Thumb, has it's own history of controversy, inspiring Camille Paglia to split with her feminist contemporaries, and still managing to ruffle the occasional feather, my favorite being a woman who attempted to have an instrumental "Muzak" version removed from her local supermarket as "offensive".


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17 Oct 2021, 8:58 pm

Dox47 wrote:
funeralxempire wrote:
Racial fetishes are pretty cringe, so where exactly does the problem exist with reevaluating if the song should still be performed?


My problem would be evaluating it on a metric other than "does it sound good?", much as I object to rating comedy on any standard besides "is it funny?". Funny enough, my favorite Stones track, Under My Thumb, has it's own history of controversy, inspiring Camille Paglia to split with her feminist contemporaries, and still managing to ruffle the occasional feather, my favorite being a woman who attempted to have an instrumental "Muzak" version removed from her local supermarket as "offensive".


I'd say the guy who's gotta sing it gets final veto on whether or not he still wants to sing it, regardless of the justification.

It's an enjoyable song, but if the singer no longer wishes to perform it that's a choice he's entitled to make. The song hasn't been banned, the band are just choosing to play other songs.


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cyberdad
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17 Oct 2021, 9:58 pm

Didn't this also happen with "Sweet Home Alabama"? the guy who wrote that song doesn't want to sing it anymore.



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18 Oct 2021, 8:08 am

cyberdad wrote:
Didn't this also happen with "Sweet Home Alabama"? the guy who wrote that song doesn't want to sing it anymore.


I dunno. Could be.

Ronnie Van Zandt, of Skynyrd, was himself offended by Neil Young's hit "Southern Man", and wrote Sweet Home as an answer song. It became one of the few answer songs that equaled/exceeded the original in popularity. The only other IKO being "My Girl" by the Temptations (an answer to "My Guy" by Mary Welles).

Like Brown Sugar its a kick-ass jam thats great at dance parties. But like Brown sugar its hard to hear the lyrics because of the loud instrumentation. You miss things in Sweet Home like "I hope Neil Young will remember that southern man dont need him around anyhow..", and "in Birmingham they love the governor [segregationist governor George C. Wallace]".

Yeah. Its quite political. And a bit dated. So he might have dropped the song.

Speaking of answer songs...

"Under My Thumb" - you can hear the lyrics more clearly than on "Brown Sugar", and they are obviously misogynistic. But ten years later Jagger did record a song called "She's the Boss", and Tina Turner did her own version of "Under My Thumb" (with all of the gender pronouns reversed). So there was some turnaround-as-fair-play on that song. :lol:



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18 Oct 2021, 6:35 pm

Yeah it's probably an individual decision. Older entertainers can't always replicate the gyrations and movement of old which explains why when James Brown, Tina Turner or even Josephine Baker did concerts in old age they would have skipped numbers they would have played in their prime.

One of my parent's favourite songs is a Jim Reeve's rendition of the song "Rose in Spanish Harlem". When I was older I felt the song was a bit racist on two levels. Firstly stipulating it was Spanish Harlem (not Harlem) so that the girl was identified as Spanish (not black). But secondly because Spanish Harlem was somehow a slum so the idea that there's a pretty girl in that neighbourhood makes her a "rose among thorns" to white audiences.

Imagine my surprise when I found out the song was originally written for Ben E King and was also sung by Aretha Franklin.



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18 Oct 2021, 8:52 pm

cyberdad wrote:
One of my parent's favourite songs is a Jim Reeve's rendition of the song "Rose in Spanish Harlem". When I was older I felt the song was a bit racist on two levels. Firstly stipulating it was Spanish Harlem (not Harlem) so that the girl was identified as Spanish (not black). But secondly because Spanish Harlem was somehow a slum so the idea that there's a pretty girl in that neighbourhood makes her a "rose among thorns" to white audiences.

Imagine my surprise when I found out the song was originally written for Ben E King and was also sung by Aretha Franklin.

"Spanish Harlem" was the name of the neighborhood at that time and it was a slum.


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18 Oct 2021, 8:58 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
cyberdad wrote:
One of my parent's favourite songs is a Jim Reeve's rendition of the song "Rose in Spanish Harlem". When I was older I felt the song was a bit racist on two levels. Firstly stipulating it was Spanish Harlem (not Harlem) so that the girl was identified as Spanish (not black). But secondly because Spanish Harlem was somehow a slum so the idea that there's a pretty girl in that neighbourhood makes her a "rose among thorns" to white audiences.

Imagine my surprise when I found out the song was originally written for Ben E King and was also sung by Aretha Franklin.

"Spanish Harlem" was the name of the neighborhood at that time and it was a slum.


But that's precisely my point, When Lieber and Spector wrote the song for Ben E King in 1960 it would have been just seen as a romantic song pitched at white music audiences.

Imagine in 2021 if a white song writer wrote a lyric "There's one pretty girl in the whole of Harlem". "She is the rose of Harlem", his song writing career would finish before the song reached the recording studio.



ASPartOfMe
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18 Oct 2021, 9:17 pm

cyberdad wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
cyberdad wrote:
One of my parent's favourite songs is a Jim Reeve's rendition of the song "Rose in Spanish Harlem". When I was older I felt the song was a bit racist on two levels. Firstly stipulating it was Spanish Harlem (not Harlem) so that the girl was identified as Spanish (not black). But secondly because Spanish Harlem was somehow a slum so the idea that there's a pretty girl in that neighbourhood makes her a "rose among thorns" to white audiences.

Imagine my surprise when I found out the song was originally written for Ben E King and was also sung by Aretha Franklin.

"Spanish Harlem" was the name of the neighborhood at that time and it was a slum.


But that's precisely my point, When Lieber and Spector wrote the song for Ben E King in 1960 it would have been just seen as a romantic song pitched at white music audiences.

Imagine in 2021 if a white song writer wrote a lyric "There's one pretty girl in the whole of Harlem". "She is the rose of Harlem", his song writing career would finish before the song reached the recording studio.


Of course, but those are not the lyrics Ben E. King wrote
https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/34397084/Ben+E.+King/Spanish+Harlem
Quote:
There is a rose in Spanish Harlem
A red rose up in Spanish Harlem
It is a special one, it's never seen the sun
It only comes out when the moon is on the run
And all the stars are gleaming
It's growing in the street right up through the concrete
But soft and sweet and dreaming

There is a rose in Spanish Harlem
A red rose up in Spanish Harlem
With eyes as black as coal
Then look down in my soul
And starts a fire there
And then I lose control
I have to beg your pardon

I'm going to pick that rose
And watch her as she grows in my garden

I'm going to pick that rose
And watch her as she grows in my garden

(There is a rose in Spanish Harlem)
La la la, la la la, la la la la
(There is a rose in Spanish Harlem)
La la la, la la la, la la la la
(There is a rose in Spanish Harlem)


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