Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote this song about the women in their lives, mostly groupies. Richards said they called the song "Some Girls" because they could never remember their names.
The line "Black girls just want to get f--ked all night" caused an uproar. American civil rights leader Jessie Jackson used his Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity) group to call for a boycott of the album. Jackson had been railing against "sex rock" songs since 1976, when he started pushing record companies to be more "responsible." Most industry executives refused to meet with him, but Ahmet Ertegun, head of the Rolling Stones' label Atlantic Records, did. He tried to get some kind of redress, but Ertegun insisted he had no creative control over the band, and there were no plans to alter or remove the song.
"Mick assured me that it was a parody of the type of people who hold these attitudes," Ertegun explained in Rolling Stone. "Mick has great respect for blacks."
Jackson had to settle for a halfhearted apology. The band issued a statement saying: "It never occurred to us that our parody of certain stereotypical attitudes would be taken seriously by anyone who heard the entire lyric of the song in question. No insult was intended, and if any was taken, we sincerely apologize."
The offensive line was just something Jagger ad-libbed, but he wasn't going to change it.
This wasn't the first Stones song that outraged feminists and other activist groups. "Brown Sugar
" and "Under My Thumb
" were also considered degrading to women.
At the time, Jagger said, "If you can't take a joke, it's too f--king bad." He later softened his stance, and began performing the song with these lyrics removed:White girls they're pretty funny
Sometimes they drive me mad
Black girls just wanna get f--ked all night
I just don't have that much jam
The lyrics are comically offensive, as Mick Jagger shares his thoughts on women of various nationalities and ethnicities. Among his observations:
French girls want Cartier
Italian girls want cars
American girls want everything in the world
English girls are prissy
Chinese girls are so gentle
Jagger explained: "Most of the girls I've played the song to like 'Some Girls.' They think it's funny. Black girlfriends of mine just laughed. And I think it's very complimentary about Chinese girls, I think they come off better than English girls. I really like girls an awful lot, and I don't think I'd say anything really nasty about any of them."
The Stones considered this song a dirty version of The Beach Boys' "California Girls
The album cover was a parody of a newspaper ad for wigs, but the women wearing the wigs were celebrities like Raquel Welch, Lucille Ball, and Farrah Fawcett. They had to remove the famous women when faced with a lawsuit.
Before they edited this down, the song was 24-minutes long. Many of Jagger's outrageous ramblings were cut.
Sugar Blue (real name: James Whiting) played harmonica on this track. An American blues player, he also worked on Emotional Rescue and Tattoo You. Someone from The Stones record company found him playing in the Paris metro, and brought him to these sessions, where he fit in well with the band.
This was the second Stones song that was also the album title. "Let It Bleed
" was the first.
In a 2013 interview with Sabotage Times that spent a lot of time covering his relationship with groupies, Keith Richards was asked about the "Black girls just want to get f--ked all night" line in this song. His reply: "Well they do. At least in my experience. That's not all they want to do. But if you can go all night, then they will do. I mean, Mick wrote that line. And he was probably moaning because he couldn't keep up with some chick he was seeing. So, in a way, it's a reverse joke."