According to Keith Richards, this outrageous ode to a black fantasy goddess was the first song for which Mick Jagger composed the main riff. Jagger came up with the concept, slave ship imagery and all -- most likely inspired by his affair with African-American singer Claudia Lennear -- while in the Australian outback filming Ned Kelly, and he admits that "Brown Sugar" is about more, and less, than the sordid lyrics indicate. "They've got a lot of different levels. There are drug references that are sort of covered. The whole thing is a double-entendre," Jagger told Rolling Stone in 2000, adding, "I don't know quite what to think of it now."
“Like on 'Youth Knows No Pain' — we are the ones that should demonstrate, because we can take it,” Likke Li said. “We can pierce ourselves, take Ecstasy, dance all night and still go to work at our McDonald's jobs.” Despite the hedonistic sentiment in the song, the Swedish singer also admitted in hindsight her youth had repercussions. “I remember when I was 18-19 and feeling that I know it all,” Li said. “I always feel that I know it all. But that song is about realizing you don’t, and reflecting, ‘Boy, if I only knew what would follow.’”