The Rolling Stones have retired one of their biggest hits following controversy over its lyrics.
The band's 1971 classic, "Brown Sugar," is one of their most-played live songs to date, but has now been removed from their setlist amid criticism over the lyrics which are said to explore the horrors of slavery, as well as sexual assault.
"You picked up on that, huh?" guitarist Keith Richards said when asked during an interview with the Los Angeles Times why the Stones had not performed the song during their No Filter Tour.
"I don’t know. I’m trying to figure out with the sisters quite where the beef is," he continued. "Didn’t they understand this was a song about the horrors of slavery? But they’re trying to bury it. At the moment I don’t want to get into conflicts with all of this sh*t."
Whether fans will ever hear "Brown Sugar" performed on stage by the Stones again remains a question with no definite answer, but Richards remains hopeful.
"I’m hoping that we’ll be able to resurrect the babe in her glory somewhere along the track," he said.
Lead vocalist Mick Jagger also remained uncertain as to whether or not the song would make it back into their setlist.
"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. We might put it back in," he said, adding that "the setlist in a stadium show, it’s kind of a tough one."
According to the New York Post, critics have previously said that "Brown Sugar" contains some of the most "stunningly crude and offensive lyrics" that have ever been written, and that it is "gross, sexist, and stunningly offensive toward black women."
Speaking about the track to Rolling Stone magazine in 1995, Jagger said he would "never 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,'" he stated.
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