The Rolling Stones’ “STICKY FINGERS” Album

Stones founder member Brian Jones had died in 1969 and the band hadn’t released and album since “Let It Bleed” that same year. Mick Taylor joined to fill Brian Jones’s shoes. But the group hadn’t been idle. They had begun recording new material for an album in March 1969 and come up with some of their strongest material. Further the new album, entitled “Sticky Fingers” was to be the first to be released on The Rolling Stones own record label (licensed to Atlantic Records). Mick Jagger had already approached Andy Warhol to suggest that he design the upcoming album’s cover.*

Mick Jagger's 1969 letter to Andy Warhol sending him material and a copy of Sticky Fingers and asking him to design somerthing wild.
Mick Jagger’s 1969 letter to Andy Warhol sending him material and a copy of Sticky Fingers and asking him to design something wild.

Warhol had already discussed the idea of having a zip fastener on a record cover and this was his opportunity. I have already posted a fairly detailed account of the cover’s production in my February 2015  post on “The sources of Andy Warhol’s record cover art – The Rolling Stones“, so I won’t go into it again here.

The album was released on 23rd April 1971. The UK and European editions had the band’s name and the record title like rubber stamps over the model’s right thigh while the US version had both the band name and title placed over the models belt. The Stones gave the record the titillating catalogue number COC 59100 for both editions. A later US and Canadian re-issue had the catalogue number COC 39105. I have thus far not been able to find out when this was released. Both my copies are the 39105 version.

The UK/European cover.
The UK/European cover.
The US/Canadian cover.
The US/Canadian cover.

However, in Spain, the cover was deemed too lascivious and a “politer” version illustrating sticky fingers covered in treacle was used.

The Spanish cover.
The Spanish cover.

The rear cover photo on both the UK/European and US/Canadian versions was identical with the jeans-clad posterior on both. The Spanish cover used the photo of the Stones that graced the UK and US inner sleeves.

In 2015, a remastered and expanded version of the “Sticky Fingers” album with an extra LP of live tracks. This was reissued with a working zip but with the tongue logo on the zip’s puller. Simultaneously there were several variations including a double CD with the same cover image but without a working zip, a box set with CD and a book – again without the working zipper and a super deluxe box set with a triple CD, seven-inch single and photographs. The CD in this box does have a working zip. This is the second time that a CD with real zip has appeared. Incidentally, this reissue series also includes a double LP with the Spanish cover.

Just recently my friends at London’s A and D Gallery got hold of a copy of the 1971 US release (COC 39105) signed by Andy Warhol along with a signed copy of “Love You Live” which they passed on to me!

My signed
My signed “Sticky Fingers” LP.
My signed
My signed “Love You Live” cover.

As many people know, Andy was not pleased by Mick Jagger adding the title to the front cover of the “Love You Live” album and usually refused to sign the front, preferring, as in this case to sign the inner spread. These two signed albums make a great addition to my collection of Warhol covers.

*Guy Minnebach points out that this letter cannot have anything to do with the decision to ask Warhol to design the “Sticky FIngers” cover as the letter refers to a hits package. Furthermore, Jagger sends a copy of the finished album with the letter, so the album CANNOT be “Sticky FIngers” as that was not recorded yet. The Stones DID ask Warhol to design a cover for their “Through the Past Darkly” hits album released in 1969, but apparently rejected Warhol’s design, which has thus far not been found.

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