Brown Sugar - The Rolling Stones


Welcome to the aiMOOC on "Brown Sugar" by The Rolling Stones! This course will delve into the fascinating aspects of this iconic song, including its creation, lyrical content, and impact on music history. You'll explore the story behind the song, learn about the band, and discover the unique elements that make "Brown Sugar" a rock classic.

Background of the Song

Brown Sugar was released in 1971 as the opening track and lead single from The Rolling Stones' album "Sticky Fingers." The song was written primarily by Mick Jagger, with contributions from Keith Richards. It quickly gained popularity, becoming one of the band's most famous songs.

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones, formed in 1962, are a British rock band with a significant impact on the music industry. Their long career is marked by numerous hits and innovative music styles. Learn more about the band's history and achievements: The Rolling Stones.

Composition and Lyrics

"Brown Sugar" is known for its catchy guitar riff, vibrant saxophone solos, and controversial lyrics. The lyrics, which have sparked much debate over the years, touch on topics like slavery, race, and sexual desire. To understand the complexity of the song, check out Analyzing Song Lyrics.

Cultural and Historical Impact

The song's release during a period of significant cultural shifts in the 1970s adds to its historical significance. It reflects and has influenced various social and musical trends. Explore 1970s Music and Rock Music History for broader context.

External link to more information on "Brown Sugar": MOOCit

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

What year was "Brown Sugar" released? (1971) (!1969) (!1973) (!1967)

Which album features "Brown Sugar" as the opening track? (Sticky Fingers) (!Let It Bleed) (!Beggars Banquet) (!Exile on Main St.)

Who was the primary writer of "Brown Sugar"? (Mick Jagger) (!Keith Richards) (!Brian Jones) (!Charlie Watts)

What instrument features a notable solo in "Brown Sugar"? (Saxophone) (!Piano) (!Harmonica) (!Guitar)

The lyrics of "Brown Sugar" predominantly explore themes of... (Slavery, race, and sexual desire) (!Love and relationships) (!Drug use and rock lifestyle) (!Political unrest)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

In what year were The Rolling Stones formed? (1962) (!1960) (!1964) (!1958)

Which member of The Rolling Stones is known for his distinctive guitar riffs? (Keith Richards) (!Mick Jagger) (!Charlie Watts) (!Ronnie Wood)

Which of the following songs is NOT by The Rolling Stones? (!"Hotel California") ("Paint It Black") ("Sympathy for the Devil") ("Angie")

Where are The Rolling Stones originally from? (England) (!USA) (!Australia) (!Canada)

Who is the lead vocalist of The Rolling Stones? (Mick Jagger) (!Keith Richards) (!Brian Jones) (!Bill Wyman)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

The lyrics "Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields" refer to... (The slave trade) (!A journey of self-discovery) (!A fictional story) (!A historical battle)

What controversial topic is addressed in "Brown Sugar"? (Sexual exploitation and race) (!Drug abuse) (!Political corruption) (!Mental health issues)

The line "Hear him whip the women just around midnight" suggests... (Abuse and power dynamics) (!A dance party) (!A romantic encounter) (!A secret meeting)

"Brown Sugar" was criticized for its lyrics because they were perceived as... (Sexually explicit and racially insensitive) (!Too political) (!Promoting drug use) (!Lacking depth)

The phrase "Brown Sugar" in the song is thought to symbolically represent... (Racial stereotypes and desire) (!A type of drug) (!A famous historical figure) (!A personal acquaintance of the band)


Create a memory game with matching pairs for this topic.

1971 Year "Brown Sugar" was released
Sticky Fingers Album featuring "Brown Sugar"
Mick Jagger Primary writer of "Brown Sugar"
Saxophone Notable solo instrument in "Brown Sugar"
Slavery and race Themes explored in "Brown Sugar"

Open Tasks


  1. Research the 1970s: Explore the cultural and musical landscape of the 1970s to understand the context in which "Brown Sugar" was released.
  2. Create a Playlist: Make a playlist of songs that share thematic or musical similarities with "Brown Sugar."


  1. Analyze the Lyrics: Write a detailed analysis of the lyrics of "Brown Sugar," focusing on its themes and historical references.
  2. The Rolling Stones' Influence: Research and present on how The Rolling Stones influenced rock music and popular culture.


  1. Critical Review: Write a critical review of "Brown Sugar," discussing its impact, controversies, and legacy in music history.
  2. Musical Analysis: Analyze the musical composition of "Brown Sugar," discussing its structure, instrumentation, and style.

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Oral Exam

  1. Discuss the Controversy: Explain the controversy surrounding "Brown Sugar" and discuss how it reflects societal attitudes of the time.
  2. Musical Evolution: Discuss how the musical style of The Rolling Stones evolved over the years, using "Brown Sugar" as a reference point.
  3. Lyrics Interpretation: Interpret the lyrics of "Brown Sugar" and relate them to the broader themes of rock music in the 1970s.
  4. Influence on Other Artists: Discuss how The Rolling Stones, particularly songs like "Brown Sugar," influenced other musicians and bands.
  5. Cultural Significance: Analyze the cultural significance of "Brown Sugar" in the context of its release and its relevance today.

OERs on the Topic


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