rolling stones brown sugar alternate 2015Can You Hear the Music?

ROLLING STONES SONGS: ‘BROWN SUGAR’ (alternate version with Eric Clapton, 2015)

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Rolling Stones songs: Brown Sugar (alternate version)

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Now I bet your mama was a tent show queen/ And all her boyfriends were sweet sixteen…

Written by: Jagger/Richard
Recorded: Mobile Recording Unit, Stagroves (Mick Jagger’s house), Newbury and Olympic Sound Studios, London, England, Oct. 17-Nov. 2 1970
Guest musicians: Bobby Keys (sax), Eric Clapton and Al Kooper (guitar)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs, The Story Behind Every Track book:
It was during the shooting of Ned Kelly in Australia, under the direction of Tony Richardson, that Mick Jagger, with a light wound to his hand, wrote the first few lines of “Brown Sugar” and came up with the riff (on the electric guitar) that was destined to become one of the most famous in the Rolling Stones’ repertoire. Keith Richards really liked it when he heard it
for the first time: “I’m the riff master. The only one I missed and that Mick Jagger got was ‘Brown Sugar,’ and I’ll tip my hat there. There he got me. I did tidy it up a bit, but that was his, words and music.”

Mick finished writing the lyrics at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. Jim Dickinson, the pianist who participated in the sessions, recalls with some emotion: “I watched Mick write the lyrics. It took him maybe forty-five minutes; it was disgusting. He wrote it down as fast as he could move his hand. I’d never seen anything like it. He had one of those yellow legal pads, and he’d write a verse a page, just write a verse and then turn the page, and when he had three pages filled, they started to cut it. It was amazing!” And many more words have been written about these lyrics by other people over the years.

At first reading it seems obvious what the song is about: the heinous days of slavery in the United States, when the plantation owners in the Southern states (New Orleans in this instance) used female slaves for their sexual gratification. Like the bluesmen before him, however, Mick Jagger plays with a double meaning in this song. “Brown Sugar” certainly refers to the black slaves shipped to America, and more particularly to their private parts (the song’s first title being “Black Pussy”).

But the term brown sugar also refers to heroin, that hardest of hard drugs. “God knows what I’m on about on that song,” admits the Stones singer. “It’s such a mishmash. All the nasty subjects in one go.” It is not impossible that Mick Jagger wrote “Brown Sugar” with the African-American singer and model Marsha Hunt, with whom he had a secret liaison, and who gave him his first child, Karis Jagger (born November 4, 1970), in mind. It is also surely possible that this song was inspired by his friend Claudia Lennear, a backing singer with Ike & Tina Turner. From here it is only a small step to the conclusion that Mick Jagger is insinuating that sex with a black woman is as addictive as heroin…

“Brown Sugar,” which opens Sticky Fingers, was released as a single (with “Bitch” and a live version of “Let It Rock” on the B-side) in the United Kingdom on April 16, 1971, and reached number 2 on May 15. The song would get to number 1 in the United States and Switzerland, number 2 in France, and number 4 in West Germany. brown sugar alternate