Keith Richards Cool to “Sweet Neo-Con”

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards was unhappy with the inclusion of the controversial “Sweet Neo-Con” on the band’s new album.

Street-fighting ‘Neo-Con’ (USA Today)

Sweet Neo-Con, Mick Jagger’s scathing indictment of U.S. foreign policy, isn’t just rankling conservatives. It rattled a usually unflappable firebrand. The song, due Sept. 6 on the Rolling Stones’ A Bigger Bang, wasn’t warmly embraced by guitarist Keith Richards.

“I didn’t want this to be a diversionary storm,” he says. “I thought potentially it would detract attention from the rest of the album and be seen as cheap publicity. We don’t need that. But I told Mick, ‘If you really feel like you want to say that, I’ll back you all the way.’ “If I’m going to write a song, politicians are the last subject I think of. Neo-Con is like an old headline. Nobody will know what it means in 10 years. I like the oblique angles like Sweet Black Angel or Street Fighting Man. This one is a bit of a finger-pointer, but what’s wrong with a poke in the eye?”

Richards makes a good point about incredibly topical songs. It’s rare for them to stand up over time.

But Jagger gets in the best line in the article:

Jagger isn’t dodging the lyrics’ thrust. “I have my opinions, which I’ve stated in the tune. Maureen Dowd is no more qualified to have opinions than I am.”

You really can’t argue with that.

Related: Rolling Stones “Sweet Neocon†Criticizes Bush Policies

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Don Surber says:

    She is more qualified: She can sing

  2. Van Helsing says:

    That is the first intelligent remark I have ever heard attributed to Mick Jagger.

  3. Freaking hilarious.