PERFORMER: THE ROLLING STONES
SONGWRITER: MICK JAGGER / KEITH RICHARDS
YEAR OF RELEASE: 1972
COMMENTS: The Stones never gave a rat's ass about being politically correct, and God love 'em for it. The infamous "Brown Sugar" in particular opened them to charges of celebrating slavery and rape of black women. They didn't care if somebody decided that they were sexist or racist, this-ist or that-ist. That fearlessness has been one of their great public virtues.
This quiet little album track goes a long way toward giving a true picture of their attitudes, though. They did not look for a shrinking violet, or an obvious nicey-nice old Rosa Parks. Of course, as their object of admiration they picked a radical black militant who did jail time for robbing banks or some such thing. Lacking in irony or humor, they wrote a simple heartfelt tribute to Angela Davis.
To the US government she was a terrorist, but to the Stones she was a freedom fighter, and a "sweet black angel." They did not play it at all for sexual titillation, which would have been easy for them to do, but as an honest tribute to her perseverant spirit. "She's a gal in chains, but she keeps on pushing. Would you do the same?"
They paid their tribute in the form of a country song. Often, the Stones approached country song form as camp ("Dear Doctor" and "Far Away Eyes"), but not here. Charlie and Keef work up a nicely understated, but still pulsing country shuffle.
Mick sings probably the tenderest and most gentle tune of his career that was not for a lover or ex-lover. There was no hint of sexual desire for the sweet black angel, only a hymn of admiration and support
Rolling Stones Photo Galleries Hundreds of photos
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