The Chinese government has ordered the Rolling Stones to ax four of their best-known hits from their landmark mainland shows next month. The band, which is scheduled to perform in Shanghai April 1 and

The Chinese government has ordered the Rolling Stones to ax four of their best-known hits from their landmark mainland shows next month. The band, which is scheduled to perform in Shanghai April 1 and in Beijing April 4, will not be allowed to play "Brown Sugar," "Honky Tonk Woman," "Beast of Burden," or "Let's Spend the Night Together," said Chen Jixin, head of concert organizers Beijing Time New Century Entertainment.

The four songs, all of which include sexual references, were originally cut from the mainland release of the band's "40 Licks" compilation album by China's culture ministry, Chen said. "Brown Sugar" refers to an interracial coupling. The album was released by EMI Records China earlier this year. It was the first Rolling Stones album to legally hit the China market; pirated Stones' CDs are widely available in Shanghai and Beijing.

Chen said she didn't know why the government had banned the four songs. Only songs on the officially released "40 Licks" album will be allowed during the China shows, she said. Representatives from the Chinese Ministry of Culture and the Rolling Stones were not available for comment.

The mainland set changes will not be the first time the Stones have run afoul of censors. In 1967, the group appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" to sing "Let's Spend the Night Together." To satisfy censors, Mick Jagger sang "Let's spend some time together."

When asked about the Beijing and Shanghai performance dates in Tokyo last week, guitarist Keith Richards said, "It's about time they let us in." The band first applied to perform in China in the 1970s and was refused permission.


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