Mick Jagger addresses ‘Brown Sugar’ backlash: ‘We provoked a lot of people’

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Mick Jagger addresses ‘Brown Sugar’ backlash: ‘We provoked a lot of people’
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Sir Mick Jagger admitted that The Rolling Stones “provoked” many people when asked about the decision to axe their hit 1970s song “Brown Sugar” from their setlist.

Last year, Jagger and his band member Keith Richards told fans that they won’t be playing “Brown Sugar” on tour anymore.

Concerns had been raised about the 50-year-old song’s reference to the “horrors of slavery” and other controversial topics.

During a recent appearance on Swedish radio station P4, Jagger admitted that The Rolling Stones were good at causing “shock and awe” before, but he accepts that things needed to “change”.

“The early days were the days of shock and awe, things can’t stay like that forever,” he said. “When you start out, I mean popular music is always in need of shaking up. We were quite good at that.

“We had our own style and our own way of approaching things and we had a different way of behaving. And it provoked a lot of people,” he added. “I thought a lot of it was super over-reaction but it became a bit of a cliché.

The Rolling Stones pose in Hyde Park, London - (from left to right) Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Bill Wyman, in 1969 (Getty Images)
The Rolling Stones pose in Hyde Park, London - (from left to right) Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Bill Wyman, in 1969 (Getty Images)

“It served us well in some ways... we got noticed.”

The last time the English rock band performed “Brown Sugar” was at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida in 2019.

When asked about the absence of the song from their set on tour last year, Richards told the LA Times: “You picked up on that, huh?

“I don’t know. I’m trying to figure out with the sisters quite where the beef is. Didn’t they understand this was a song about the horrors of slavery?” he said. “But they’re trying to bury it. At the moment I don’t want to get into conflicts with all of this s***.”

The 77-year-old musician concluded that he’s “hoping that we’ll be able to resurrect the babe in her glory somewhere along the track.”

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