The Rolling Stones have dropped Brown Sugar, one of their biggest hits, from their US tour.
It follows unease with the depictions of black women and references to slavery in the song, which reached number one in the US in 1971.
The bandâs veteran guitarist Keith Richards confirmed the decision to the LA Times but said he was confused by people who wanted to âburyâ the track.
âDidnât they understand this was a song about the horrors of slavery?â he said.
The 77-year-old musician concluded that heâs âhoping that weâll be able to resurrect the babe in her glory somewhere along the trackâ.
Singer and co-writer Sir Mick Jagger, meanwhile, told the paper the reason for not playing the song was that it was âtoughâ to compile a set list for stadium shows.https://buy.tinypass.com/checkout/template/cacheableShow?aid=tYOkq7qlAI&templateId=OTBYI8Q89QWC&templateVariantId=OTV0YFYSXVQWV&offerId=fakeOfferId&experienceId=EXAWX60BX4NU&iframeId=offer_0e763acc7b457c03340a-0&displayMode=inline&widget=template&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.com
âWeâve played Brown Sugar every night since 1970, so sometimes you think, weâll take that one out for now and see how it goes,â he said. âWe might put it back in.â
Over the years, Brown Sugar has been the bandâs second most-played song live after Jumpinâ Jack Flash, according to Setlist.fm.
The rock band last performed it in Miami, Florida, in 2019 â the final date of that leg of their North American tour, which resumed last month.
The catchy opening riff and melody propelled the song to mainstream success and often overshadowed the songâs problematic references to slavery, sex, sadomasochism and heroin.
Discussing the song in a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Jagger said: âI never would write that song now.
âI would probably censor myself. Iâd think, âOh God, I canât. Iâve got to stopâ. God knows what Iâm on about on that song. Itâs such a mishmash. All the nasty subjects in one go.â
But criticism of its lyrics, rumoured to be inspired by one of the singerâs girlfriends, has intensified in recent times.
Last year producer Ian Brennan criticised the bandâs decision to continue to âplay and profitâ from the song, which he said glorifies slavery, rape, torture and paedophilia.
âThe call is not for censorship or ârecord burning,â but greater consciousness and sensitivity,â Brennan told Rolling Stone.
âThis particular case is far from nitpicking or searching into the furthest corners of someoneâs history for any misstep. Brown Sugar is not some obscure B-side.â
The song reached number two in the UK charts when it was released, and has been streamed almost 170 million times on Spotify.
Ian Brennan is a Grammy-winning music producer who has
produced three other Grammy-nominated albums. He is the author of four
books and has worked with the likes of filmmaker John Waters, Merle
Haggard, and Green Day, among others. His work with international
artists such as the Zomba Prison Project, Tanzania Albinism Collective,
and Khmer Rouge Survivors, has been featured on the front page of the New York Times and on an Emmy-winning 60 Minutes segment
with Anderson Cooper reporting. Since 1993 he has taught violence
prevention and conflict resolution around the world for such prestigious
organizations as the Smithsonian, New Yorkâs New School, Berklee
College of Music, the University of London, the University of
CaliforniaâBerkeley, and the National Accademia of Science (Rome).