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Song Stories

“Brown Sugar”

The Rolling Stones | 1971

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."

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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