"Sweet Soul Sister" was released on 5 March 1990. It reached number 42 in the UK Singles Chart, while peaking at number 14 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in the US. In addition to the album version, there is a shorter single edit (which is approximately 3:30 long) and a remixed version called "Sweet Soul Sister (Rock's Mix)", approximately 6.00 long which was released as a B side on the vinyl 12" release of the single. Although uncredited, there is also an alternate remix version used in the video which has an approximate playing time of 4 minutes. This version was also issued as a cassingle in the United States. The video was filmed at Wembley Arena in London on 25 November 1989.
In 1989 Ian Astbury said this song was about the Americanization of European culture: "Several images sprang to mind as I was writing this song, it was kind of an observation of how European youth is becoming somewhat reluctantly Americanized. You know the references to the 'The Star Spangled Banner.' But again with all my lyrics I like to leave them open to people's interpretations and hope that people find themselves inside my songs."
This song was written in Paris. Astbury revealed that France influenced the lyrical content: "Its just a song about how European people sort of embrace America to an extent. They'll accept fast foot, clothing, music, but, especially in France they're reluctant to accept American Politics. It's kinda a two way thing, they reluctantly accept the United States, and that was kinda what the song was about."
During a 2010 live concert in The Hague, Netherlands, Astbury told the crowd "That song is written about Angela Davis, incredible woman, Black Panther, activist, feminist, radical thinker."
* UK promo flag (pvc)
Sweet Soul Sister, 7", AUS, BEG 241
Sweet Soul Sister, 7", AUS, BEG 241 company sleeve w/ jukebox titlestrip
Sweet Soul Sister, 7", CAN, 842 231-7D, promo, double A-side, plain sleeve
Sweet Soul Sister, 7", UK, BEG 241, promo stickered sleeve
Sweet Soul Sister, 7", UK, BEG 241, white label promo
Sweet Soul Sister, 12", AUS, BEG241T, 4-tracks
Sweet Soul Sister, 12", CAN, 842 2811, disc 3 of Sonic Temple Collection
Sweet Soul Sister, 12", UK, BEG241T, white label promo
Sweet Soul Sister, 12", UK, BEG 241TP, limited edition numbered, 7965, picture disc
Sweet Soul Sister, 12", UK, BEG 241TP, set of 3 testpressing/mispressed 12" - white label/picture discs
Sweet Soul Sister, 12", UK, BEG 241TG/TR, double pack, 2nd disc 'Rock's Mix', incl. poster
Sweet Soul Sister, CDS, CAN, 842231-2D, promo, digipack feat. Sonic Temple Tour Dates, hologram wallet
Sweet Soul Sister, CDS, UK, BEG241CD/CR, double pack, gatefold, 2nd single 'Rock's Mix'
Sweet Soul Sister, CDS, USA, PRO CD 3881, promo
Sweet Soul Sister, TAPE, CAN, 842281-4, 5 tracks
Sweet Soul Sister, TAPE, UK, BEG241C, w/ The River
Sweet Soul Sister, TAPE, USA, 9 19926-4, w/ Soldier Blue (sealed)
Sweet Soul Sister, VID, UK, 1-track promo, plain sleeve w/ 2-pages press release sheet
Pure Cult UK Promo Box, 12"x12" silver logo embossed black promo box, contains:
- The Cult Videos, VID, UK, 9 track promotional video, black sleeve w/ pure cult logo and tracklist
- Sweet Soul Sister, 7", UK, BEG241
- Sweet Soul Sister, CDS, UK, BEG241CD
- Promo poster ´group shot´
- Promo T-shirt ´Sweet Soul Sister´, Black XL w/ Pure Cult logo (back)
- press release sheets
Pure Cult USA Promo Box, 12"x12" silver logo embossed black promo box, contains:
- Sweet Soul Sister, VID, USA, 1-track promo video w/ picture sleeve and 1990 Tour Dates at back
- Sweet Soul Sister, CDS, USA, PROCD-3881, 2 track promo
- Tour T-shirt, USA, frontlogo 'The Cult Tour '90 (Red Cross)', back: embossed 'Pure Cult' logo
- personalized VIP laminate - Sire Records invitation sheet to Sonic Lodge members
* USA promo T-shirt (came for free w/ 12" release)
* UK press release
* Canadian press release