Rolling Stones fans won’t be hearing one of their most popular songs at any concerts for the foreseeable future.
In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, the band confirmed that they have taken the 1971 hit “Brown Sugar” out of their touring set list.
The song has long faced criticism for its depictions of Black women, as well as unsettling references to slavery.
Despite removing the song from set lists, 77-year-old band member Keith Richards admitted he was confused by people who want to “bury” the song.
“Didn’t they understand this was a song about the horrors of slavery?” he said, adding that he is “hoping that we’ll be able to resurrect the babe in her glory somewhere along the track.”
Mick Jagger, the song’s co-writer, said, “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.”
Discussing the song in a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone, Jagger admitted, “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. God knows what I’m on about on that song. It’s such a mishmash. All the nasty subjects in one go.”
The band last performed the song at a concert in Miami in 2019, which was also the last stop on that leg of their North American tour, and not long before the pandemic stopped touring altogether.
The Stones resumed their tour last month, following the death of drummer Charlie Watts in August.