Closing out my week of favorite upbeat songs is ‘Brown Sugar’ by The Rolling Stones. I wouldn’t call this song “happy,” exactly, but it’s a far cry from the somber notes hit by most of my desert island choices.
‘Brown Sugar’ is raunchy and lusty like many of the best Rolling Stones songs. Mick Jagger’s twisted ode to interracial relations controversially centers on slavers and house boys but he manages to get away with it.
You can hear the song in its original version on my Song of the Day #1,546 post. But this live take, with Jagger in full prancing maniac mode, is a gem as well.
Sold in a market down in New Orleans
Scarred old slaver knows he’s doing alright
Hear him with the women just around midnight
Brown sugar how come you taste so good?
Brown sugar just like a young girl should
Drums beating, cold English blood runs hot
Lady of the house wonderin’ when it’s gonna stop
House boy knows that he’s doing alright
You shoulda heard him just around midnight
Brown sugar how come you taste so good, now?
Brown sugar just like a young girl should, now
Ah, get along, brown sugar how come you taste so good, baby?
Ah, got me feelin’ now, brown sugar just like a black girl should
I bet your mama was a tent show queen
And all her boyfriends were sweet sixteen
I’m no schoolboy but I know what I like
You shoulda heard me just around midnight
Brown sugar how come you taste so good, baby?
Ah, brown sugar just like a young girl should, yeah
I said yeah, yeah, yeah, woo
How come you…how come you taste so good?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, woo
Just like a…just like a black girl should
Yeah, yeah, yeah, woo
I’m not sure they really get away from this song being somewhat offensive both to Blacks and to women. While I agree that, musically, this is a fun song in that typical Rolling Stones way, it’s always made me a bit uncomfortable. If I were going to pick an upbeat fun Stones song, I probably would have chosen “Satisfaction” or “Honky Tonk Woman.”
Maybe it’s because 1972 was the year I graduated high school and started college but I vividly remember the piss and vinegar of these times and recall with relish this kind of lusty performance. Thoroughly enjoyable!