Lyrics: The Rolling Stones - Brown Sugar » Ziptras

Lyrics: The Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar

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Recorded in 1969 in Muscle Shoals studios, Jagger wrote the riff to this one while filming Ned Kelly in Australia. The song appeared on Sticky Fingers and is a staple of the Stones’ canon.

Keef, in his book Life on Jagger’s lyrics writing process:

They started running down Brown Sugar the first night, but they didn’t get a take. 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!”

The song is thought to have been inspired by soul singer Claudia Lennear, who was also the inspiration behind David Bowie’s “Lady Grinning Soul”.

There are several different ways to interpret this song. The most straightforward is a meditation on white male on black female sex and how power has influenced it. Alternatively it could be more generally about interracial sex or black sex. Finally, as meta-fiction: Mick Jagger plunders the musical history of black people from slave rhythms, to spirituals, to blues, to honky tonk. And further is willing to proudly crow about how tempting and good they are.

The first reading is probably what was intended, but given the rollicking rock, the final is not inappropriate whether intended or not.

[Verse 1]
Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields
Sold in the market down in New Orleans
Scarred old slaver knows he’s doing alright
Hear him whip the women just around midnight

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Brown sugar, how come you taste so good? Uh huh
Brown sugar, just like a young girl should, uh huh, oh (Woo)

[Verse 2]
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 ’em just around midnight

Brown sugar, how come you taste so good now?
Brown sugar, just like a young girl should now (Yeah)

Ah, get on, brown sugar, how come you taste so good?
Ah, got me craving the, the brown sugar
Just like a black girl should, yeah

[Verse 3]
Ah, and 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, come down, 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

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