The Rolling Stones Song of the Day- Sweet Black Angel. First off- was happy to hear Mick is doing well and resting comfortably after his heart surgery yesterday. All that I have heard is good news. The greatest frontman in the history of Rock and Roll.
Sweet Black Angel was released as a b-side to the Tumbling Dice single- and is song 3 on side 2 of Exile On Main St. Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards- The Rolling Stones didn’t write all that many political songs but this was one- about the civil rights activist Angela Davis who was facing murder charges- Davis is not mentioned by name in the song. Davis was found not- guilty by an all-white jury. At that time that trial was headlines and the lead off story on the nightly news on a daily basis.
The Rolling Stones have only performed Sweet Black Angel once in concert- back in June 1972 in Fort Worth, Texas.
The following review by Steve Kurutz at allmusic- put a smile on my face- especially the first couple sentences.
The Stones have never been a political band and Mick Jagger never a political songwriter. The freedom to shake your ass and screw who, when, and where you want is about the only cause Mick has ever fought for. Even on the band’s great “Street Fighting Man,” a song that addresses the anti-war rioting of the late ’60s, Mick sums the Stones ethos up by singing “what can a poor boy do, but sing for a rock n’ roll band.” But with “Sweet Black Angel” Mick takes the rare political stand, defending a civil rights activist and University of California professor named Angela Davis who was all over the news in the early ’70s. Davis was denied tenure at the university based on her political beliefs and was later charged with complicity in a botched bank robbery where four people were murdered, going on the lam before eventually being caught and brought to trial in a flurry of media attention. Having never heard of Angela Davis, a listener could easily overlook the political lyrics and get lost in the circular acoustic plucking or the washboard rhythm that propels the song so well. Yet, by knowing the case history one realizes how deft and clever Mick’s lyrics could be, even if he hides behind his best backwoods diction and garbled annunciation obscure the point.