Rolling Stones Rail Against Bush

Sweet Neo Con nails the Bush administration

August 24, 2005 12:00 AM ET

Throughout last year's presidential election, Mick Jagger held his tongue. But on the Rolling Stones' first studio album in eight years, A Bigger Bang, Jagger unleashes a barbed political track, "Sweet Neo Con," an open attack on the Bush administration that rips hypocritical Christians and patriots, rising gas prices, "prison without trial" and Vice President Dick Cheney's former company Halliburton.

Jagger has told friends that the song is not about Bush specifically but is a stab at the neo-con worldview and policies.

Jagger says he wrote the song quickly, and the subject matter surprised the band. "I have my opinions, which I've stated in the tune," Jagger told USA Today. "Maureen Dowd is no more qualified to have opinions than I am."

"Sweet Neo Con," which is not one of the new album's first three singles, has caused trickles of controversy -- Fox News' Brian Kilmeade argued that the song makes the band unfit to partner with the NFL, which will air Stones concert footage all season on Monday Night Football. Even Keith Richards had misgivings about the song at first. "I didn't want this to be a diversionary storm," he told USA Today. "I thought potentially it would detract attention from the rest of the album and be seen as cheap publicity. We don't need that. But I told Mick, 'If you really feel like you want to say that, I'll back you all the way.'"

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »