Listen To Version of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Brown Sugar’ with Eric Clapton
via Music Documentaries & Concerts / YouTube
Considering that the song draws much of its thematic material from the depths of rape and slavery, it is unlikely that the Rolling Stones would have allowed “Brown Sugar” to be released today. However, in 1971, when the band was at the height of its popularity, the song was meant to be a hit. One of the most incredible riffs ever recorded, it was recorded only a few months after the death of Brian Jones, and the brief time the Stones had Mick Taylor as their guitarist.
In the first weeks of December 1969, the song was recorded in what would become Alabama’s legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. Upon entering the studio, Mick Jagger announced to a waiting reporter, “I’ve got a new one myself. No words yet, but a few words in my head—called ‘Brown Sugar’—about a woman who screws one of her black servants. I started to call it ‘Black Pussy’ but I decided that was too direct, too nitty-gritty.”
In 1972, with much of Sticky Fingers already recorded, the band decided to throw a party in London’s Olympic Studios in honor of guitarist Richards’ 27th birthday. The band would record a new version of “Brown Sugar” with piano great Al Kooper and slide guitar superstar Eric Clapton. It was Keith Richards’ personal favorite, but it wasn’t included in the album due to time constraints. The band released a special edition of the record, and with it came a bonus track of the Clapton cover, which you can listen to in its entirety down below.