The Rolling Stones: Brown Sugar Meaning
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Song Released: 1971
Brown Sugar Lyrics
Sold in a market down in new orleans.
Scarred old slaver know hes doin alright.
Hear him whip the women just around midnight.
Ah brown sugar how come you taste so good
(a-ha) brown sugar, just...
anonymous Sep 1st, 9:28pm report
WENNER: All right. That’s the news in this interview. Why does “Brown Sugar” work like mad?
JAGGER: That’s a bit of a mystery, isn’t it? I wrote that song in Australia in the middle of a field. They were really odd circumstances. I was doing this movie, “Ned Kelly,” and my hand had got really damaged in this action sequence. So stupid. I was trying to rehabilitate my hand and had this new kind of electric guitar, and I was playing in the middle of the outback and wrote this tune.
But why it works? I mean, it’s a good groove and all that. I mean, the groove is slightly similar to Freddy Cannon, this rather obscure ‘50s rock performer – Tallahassee Lassie or something. Do you remember this? “She’s down in F-L-A.” Anyway, the groove of that – boom-boom-boom-boom-boom – is “going to a go-go” or whatever, but that’s the groove.
WENNER: And you wrote it all?
WENNER: This is one of your biggest hits, a great, classic, radio single, except the subject matter is slavery, interracial sex, eating pussy...
JAGGER: [Laughs] And drugs. That’s a double-entendre, just thrown in.
WENNER: Brown sugar being heroin?
JAGGER: Brown sugar being heroin and –
WENNER: And pussy?
JAGGER: That makes it... the whole mess thrown in. God knows what I’m on about on that song. It’s such a mishmash. All the nasty subjects in one go.
WENNER: Were you surprised that it was such a success with all that stuff in it?
JAGGER: I didn’t think about it at the time. I never would write that song now.
JAGGER: 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.”
anonymous Jul 22nd, 7:13pm report
I'm pretty impressed with how brainless these responses are, especially when the RIGHT answer was the FIRST answer (it's very clear that it's about african girls, brought to New Orleans as slaves, being raped by their slave owners during the night)... not all rock songs are about drugs.
anonymous Jul 17th, 2012 7:12am report
I'm pretty sure they are singing about heroin, they just wrote the verses the way
they are so they could sing the chorus and not get in trouble for singing about drugs.
anonymous Feb 7th, 2012 2:39pm report
The song is what it says. It might be an allegory for heroin or whatever, but come on...they wrote what they wrote.
For that reason, I don't like the song so much. It's racist and chauvinist, you can't deny that, even if you try not to.
The music is fantastic and I'll always listen to this. It's one of their two or three all time best.
Now, let's take it to a deeper level and ask: "Does this represent the lyricists' feelings about black women?"
The answer is that it must to some degree: at least as a sexual fantasy.
This, despite the fact that a songwriter doesn't have to "be" the real life narrator of the song, anymore than Randy Newman and his songs "Burn Down the Cornfield" or "Mama Told Me Not To Come".
Any artist's work doesn't have to be biographical and fans should never assume that. Writers create sexual fantasies, sometimes even ones they hold at arm's length.
Do you believe "Lola" was was a real person that Ray Davies met?
Maybe... maybe not... but it was only a song.
But in this particular case: wasn't there a lot of talk about Mick and Tina at one point?
...and wasn't there talk from time to time about Mick and other black women?
I'm not saying these rumors are true, mind you. This is show biz and no "news" is bad news... especially in the Stones' case as it seems they've tried to make as much bad news over the years as they can to enhance their "bad boy" image, much in the way that Jagger has tried to associate other Stones' songs with the devil, etc, etc, etc ad nauseum...
I love the Stones, but this is one song where the lyrics to their great music sucked.
anonymous May 2nd, 2011 5:19am report
It's a quarter after 1 am, I have nothin to do, so I go on to this site to look up some song lyrics. After I look up about ten different songs, just about all of them say that it's about heroin. I want to point out that you can't pick out any random classic rock song and say it's about heroin. This just gets really annoying.
anonymous Mar 26th, 2009 3:25pm report
It's about black women and pootang aka brown sugar.... not about heroin
anonymous Mar 15th, 2009 3:10pm report
Mick Jagger and Marsha Hunt were also having an affair during this time as his relationship with Marianne Faithfull was deterioting. The black slave part is true as well. I couldn't vouche for the heroin theme, although it is a recurring theme.
The song is about slaves taken from Africa and sold in New Orleans as they say in the song "sold in the market down in New Orleans" and the owners rape them they say in the song "you should have heard it just around midnight". The words Brown Sugar is an other name for a black woman. You also know it's sexual when he says "how come you taste so good just like a black girl should."
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