People love to tell you to listen to your elders, but what about when your elders are out here saying absolutely wild shit to reputable media outlets? The surviving members of the British Invasion are being messy, despite the fact that they are all in their late seventies.
Recently, Keith Richards talked to the LA Times and talked about retiring the classic problematic slavery jam “Brown Sugar” from the Rolling Stones’ set list. “I’m trying to figure out with the sisters quite where the beef is. 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 shit,” he said.
Who, might I ask, are these “sisters” that Richards is talking about? Do you think they might be telling Richards that having Mick Jagger sing about a “Gold Coast slave ship bound for cotton fields” and hearing a man “whip the women just around midnight” is, maybe, not his place?
Jagger knows that, though. In 1995 he told Rolling Stone that he would “never write that song now” and that he would “probably censor” himself. In the LA Times interview, he said, “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… We might put it back in.”
Richards and Jagger, a beautiful yin and yang of “I don’t get why this is offensive, sisters” and “I kinda get it but we might put it back.”
Meanwhile, Paul McCartney has declared that the Glimmer Twins are absolute flop hacks. In a new interview with New Yorker dad David Remnick, McCartney called the Rolling Stones “a blues cover band.”
The Beatles frontman said, “I think our net was cast a bit wider than theirs.” Referring, I assume, to the fact that sometimes The Beatles would like, go to India and put a sitar on a song.
All of this is a nice reminder that no amount of money and fame can stop old men from becoming stubborn curmudgeons who continue to hold grudges. Time comes for us all, and there is no escaping the inevitability of becoming a curmudgeon who starts wondering when everyone got so sensitive all of a sudden and talks shit about your peers.