They are calling it the No Filter Tour but the Rolling Stones have announced that their 50-year old classic, Brown Sugar will not be played because of controversy over its lyrics. The song was written mostly by Mick Jagger in Australia in 1969, but was not released until April of 1971 when it came out as the first cut on the group’s album, Sticky Fingers.
I find myself in the same company as the WABC shock-jock Bernard McGuirk, who last week said he was shocked when he actually saw the lyrics on paper.
Like McGuirk, I now realize that after 50 years of listening to the song, I have only been able to make out about 10 percent of the words. I could make out “just around midnight,” ”yeah…yeah” and “Brown sugar” and that’s about it.
Gold Coast slave ship bound for cotton fields
Sold in the market down in New Orleans
Scarred old slaver knows he’s doin’ all right
Hear him whip the women just around midnight
At least Jagger didn’t try to cop a plea that the lyrics were some kind of protest against slavery. Mick told Rolling Stone’s Jann Wenner “God knows what I’m on about on 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…”
The backlash to the song has created its own backlash against wokeism…
Perhaps the last word on the subject should be that of Music writer and radio host Eric Alper.