The sexual lyrics of Honky Tonk Women were apparently too much for China’s Communist fathers as the Rolling Stones said the chart-topping song was “vetoed” for their second ever show in the country.
“About now we’d usually play something like Honky Tonk Women … but it’s been vetoed,” front man Mick Jagger said at Wednesday’s show, according to a posting on the band’s official Twitter feed. He did not give a reason.
The song describes a “bar-room queen” who “tried to take me upstairs for a ride” and another woman who “blew my nose and then she blew my mind”.
The enduring rock band played in commercial capital Shanghai once previously, eight years ago, when several songs fell victim to the censor, including Brown Sugar.
Concert-goers confirmed Jagger’s comments at the packed show on Wednesday night but said the reaction from the Shanghai audience was muted.
“He didn’t play it for shock,” said Andrew Chin, a local arts writer who attended. “People were just excited to see the Stones.”
China censors content it deems to be politically sensitive or obscene. Authorities have been especially sensitive about live concerts since Bjork chanted “Tibet” during her song Declare Independence in 2008. China considers Tibet its sovereign territory.
Elton John dedicated a Beijing show to Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei in November 2012, provoking condemnation by state-controlled media.
But other classic Stones numbers passed muster, including Street Fighting Man and You Can’t Always Get What You Want.