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

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. 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.