Time to celebrate 50 years since the release of this fantastic album in the UK!
Sticky Fingers is the 12th. album by the Rolling Stones since they formed in 1962 in London. 12 albums in 9 years! It is their first album released under the Rolling Stones Records brand, with the characteristic tongue logo. After a split with Decca and London Records, after some conflicts. It is recorded in a period from 22. March 1969 to 31. October 1970 in several studios. Muscle Shoals Sound in Alabama, Olympic and Trident in London and Stargroves in Newbury.
The iconic cover with the zipper was designed by Andy Warhol, who prior to this also designed the even more iconic cover to the “banana record” by The Velvet Underground. A lot of people assumed (or even hoped?) that the picture of the jeans with a real zipper, and with a clearly visible marking from the beholders penis, was actually with Mick Jagger as the model. Even more visible when revealing the pants under the front layer. Another theory is Warhole’s lover Jed Johnson, or his twin brother Jay – but both have denied that. Joe Dallesandro claims that he was the model, but the designer Corey Tippin should be the true model, according to people involved in the design.
Sticky Fingers is released in hundreds of different versions. With or without real metal zipper, with different kind of zippers and placed different places. The first releases changed position of the zipper to be closer to the center, because vinyl buyers complained that the zipper damaged the vinyl. Later the zipper was just part of the picture. I am not really sure which version is the absolute first press, but I would guess it must be the early gate fold release, which was pressed by mistake. Instead of revealing the underpants unzipping the zip, the pants was printed on the inner part of the gate fold. Making this version one of the most expensive one’s of cause. It can be found around 300 dollar in a fair condition.
Sticky Fingers is the first studio album without Brian Jones, after his tragic death 3. July 1969. He was found by his girlfriend in a swimming pool, still breathing. But he was confirmed dead later at the hospital. As he died at the age of 27 he entered the 27-club, with Joplin, Morrison, Hendrix, Cobain, Winehouse and several others. Officially he died from drowning after heavily use of alcohol and drugs, but a theory of him being murdered was so present, that it was raised in a movie from 2005 called Stoned also known as “The Wild and Wycked World of Brian Jones”. Directed by Stephen Woolley.
The version I am listening while writing is the first press from Germany. It is in a very poor condition though, some audible scratches on the vinyl and without the front part of the sleeve. Only the underpants are still intact. Showing the part of the design with Warhole’s signature and “mark” on the pants: THIS PHOTOGRAPH MAY NOT BE—ETC.
According to rateyourmusic.com this album is the highest rated by The Rolling Stones. Personally I am not sure about that, but it certainly is a great album containing super hits like Brown Sugar and Wild Horses. Listening it now I am really close to mark it as a Complete Album – just finished Dead Flowers and tuning into the final track, Moonlight Mile. A great ending of a sublime album, but I think I have to rest my case and leave the title to a later album. After all the Complete Album tag is reserved to the absolute best albums and the kind you have to listen in it’s whole length. It comes very close though…..
Mick Jagger – lead vocal, backing vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, castanets, maracas, percussion
Keith Richards – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Mick Taylor – electric guitar, acoustic guitar
Bill Wyman – bass guitar, electric piano
Charlie Watts – drums
Paul Buckmaster – string arrangement
Ry Cooder – slide guitar
Jim Dickinson – piano
Rocky Dijon – congas
Nicky Hopkins – piano
Bobby Keys – tenor saxophone
Jimmy Miller – percussion
Jack Nitzsche – piano
Billy Preston – organ
Jim Price – trumpet, piano
Ian Stewart – piano