The Rolling Stones explain why they aren’t playing ‘Brown Sugar’ on their current tour

It's the band's second-most performed song in their career
The Rolling Stones
Photo credit Getty Images

The Rolling Stones are currently in the midst of their No Filter tour performing shows in packed stadiums across the United States.

Evening after evening, fans sing along to the band’s biggest hits and belt out the tunes they’ve loved for decades. One song, which happens to be the second-most performed song in the band’s history, has been absent from the setlist thus far.

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The Rolling Stones took part in an interview with The Los Angeles Times ahead of their shows in LA this week and explained why they’ve dropped “Brown Sugar” from their setlist for this tour.

The opening line of “Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields” has long been interpreted by the band as a critique of slavery. Both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards touched on the song during their Los Angeles Times interview and revealed they’ve dropped it out of concern it’d be misunderstood in the present times.

“I don’t know I’m trying to figure out with the sisters quite where the beef is,” Richards said. “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 s***. But I’m hoping that we’ll be able to resurrect the babe in her glory somewhere along the track.”

Jagger added, “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.”

While he pondered the idea of putting the song back in their setlist eventually, Jagger went on to describe the difficulties in putting together a setlist for a stadium show with tens of thousands of fans.

“It’s kind of a tough one,” he said. “We did ‘Let It Bleed’ last night, which I managed to play on 12-string guitar.”

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