The Rolling Stones are one of the most influential rock bands in history, known for their classic hits and catchy tunes. However, the band has also been at the center of some controversy with a few of their songs causing outrage and anger among certain groups. Here are five great Rolling Stones songs that went controversial:
‘Street Fighting Man’
“Street Fighting Man” was released in 1968, around the same time protests were heating up in the U.S. and France. The song’s lyrics discuss the struggle against oppression and the need for revolution, and it was seen as a call to arms for young people to take to the streets. The song was released in the U.S. as a single one week after a violent collision between police and anti-Vietnam war protestors at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
‘Stray Cat Blues’
The song “Stray Cat Blues” was released in 1968 and portrays a man’s attempt to have sexual relations with an underage groupie of 15 years old, which was against the law during that time. The song’s lyrics are highly suggestive, including the lines “I can see that you’re 15 years old/No, I don’t want your ID.” Presently, the song is deemed inappropriate and has not aged well.
‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’
One of The Rolling Stones’ most iconic songs is “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” which became their first No. 1 single in the U.S. and topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. However, the song’s sexually aggressive lyrics caused controversy, and it was initially banned from U.K. radios. Some cities even required the line “I’m tryin’ to make some girl” to be mixed low to get it past censors.
‘Let’s Spend the Night Together’
“Let’s Spend the Night Together” is a relatively tame song by The Rolling Stones’ standards, but the titular suggestion was seen as too risqué for some in 1967. During an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Stones were asked to change the title to “Let’s spend some time together.” The band sort of complied, but Mick Jagger still slipped in a few “some nights” and rolled his eyes whenever he said “some time.”
‘Sympathy for the Devil’
In 1968, The Rolling Stones released “Sympathy for the Devil,” which sparked rumors that the band members were devil worshippers due to its mention of the devil. However, the song’s lyrics actually deal with the atrocities that humanity has committed throughout history, such as the crucifixion of Jesus and the assassination of the Kennedy brothers. The song’s central message is that humans are responsible for their own evils, rather than the devil.