Sticky Fingers

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Sticky Fingers
Studio album by the Rolling Stones
Released23 April 1971
Recorded2–4 December 1969, Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, Sheffield, Alabama; 17 February, March – May, 16 June – 27 July 17 – 31 October 1970, and January 1971, Olympic Studios, London, UK; except "Sister Morphine", begun 22–31 March 1969
GenreHard rock,[1] rock[2]
LabelRolling Stones
ProducerJimmy Miller
the Rolling Stones chronology
Let It Bleed
Sticky Fingers
Exile on Main St.
Spanish 1971 cover
Singles from Sticky Fingers
  1. "Brown Sugar"/"Bitch"
    Released: 16 April 1971
  2. "Wild Horses"
    Released: 12 June 1971
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This article is about the Rolling Stones album. For other uses, see Sticky Fingers (disambiguation).
Sticky Fingers
Studio album by the Rolling Stones
Released23 April 1971
Recorded2–4 December 1969, Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, Sheffield, Alabama; 17 February, March – May, 16 June – 27 July 17 – 31 October 1970, and January 1971, Olympic Studios, London, UK; except "Sister Morphine", begun 22–31 March 1969
GenreHard rock,[1] rock[2]
LabelRolling Stones
ProducerJimmy Miller
the Rolling Stones chronology
Let It Bleed
Sticky Fingers
Exile on Main St.
Spanish 1971 cover
Singles from Sticky Fingers
  1. "Brown Sugar"/"Bitch"
    Released: 16 April 1971
  2. "Wild Horses"
    Released: 12 June 1971

Sticky Fingers is the ninth British and 11th American studio album by English rock band the Rolling Stones, released in April 1971. It is the band's first album of the 1970s and its first release on the band's newly formed label, Rolling Stones Records, after having been contracted since 1963 with Decca Records in the UK and London Records in the US. It is also Mick Taylor's first full-length appearance on a Rolling Stones album, the first Rolling Stones album not to feature any contributions from guitarist and founder Brian Jones and the first one on which singer Mick Jagger is credited with playing guitar.

Sticky Fingers is widely regarded as one of the Rolling Stones' best albums. It achieved triple platinum certification in the US and contains songs such as the chart-topping "Brown Sugar", the country ballad[3][4] "Wild Horses", the Latin-inspired "Can't You Hear Me Knocking", and the sweeping ballad "Moonlight Mile".


With the end of their Decca/London association at hand, The Rolling Stones would finally be free to release their albums (cover art and all) as they pleased. However, their departing manager Allen Klein dealt the group a major blow when they discovered that they had inadvertently signed over their entire 1960s copyrights to Klein and his company ABKCO, which is how all of their material from 1963's "Come On" to Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! The Rolling Stones in Concert has since come to be released by ABKCO Records. The band would remain incensed with Klein for decades over the act.

When Decca informed The Rolling Stones that they were owed one more single, they cheekily submitted a track called "Cocksucker Blues",[5] which was guaranteed to be refused. Instead, Decca released the two-year-old Beggars Banquet track "Street Fighting Man" while Klein would have dual copyright ownership, with The Rolling Stones, of "Brown Sugar" and "Wild Horses".


Although sessions for Sticky Fingers began in earnest in March 1970, The Rolling Stones had recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama in December 1969 and "Sister Morphine", cut during Let It Bleed's sessions earlier in March of that year, was held over for this release. Much of the recording for Sticky Fingers was made with The Rolling Stones' mobile studio unit in Stargroves during the summer and autumn of 1970. Early versions of songs that would appear on Exile on Main St. were also rehearsed during these sessions.[6]


The Rolling Stones posing in an ad with the artwork from Sticky Fingers in 1971, from left to right: Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor, Bill Wyman, Keith Richards, and Mick Jagger

The album's artwork emphasises the suggestive innuendo of the Sticky Fingers title, showing a close-up of a jeans-clad male crotch with the visible outline of a large penis; the cover of the original (vinyl) release featured a working zipper and mock belt buckle that opened to reveal cotton briefs. The vinyl release displayed the band's name and album title along the image of the belt; behind the zipper the white briefs were seemingly rubber stamped in gold with the name of American pop artist Andy Warhol, below which read "THIS PHOTOGRAPH MAY NOT BE—ETC."[7] While the artwork was conceived by Warhol, photography was by Billy Name and design by Craig Braun.

The cover photo of a male model's crotch clad in tight blue jeans was assumed by many fans to be an image of Mick Jagger, but the people actually involved at the time of the photo shoot claim that Warhol had several different men photographed (Jagger was not among them) and never revealed which shots he used. Among the candidates, Jed Johnson, Warhol's lover at the time, denied it was his likeness, although his twin brother Jay is a possibility. Those closest to the shoot, and subsequent design, name Factory artist and designer Corey Tippin as the likeliest candidate. Warhol "superstar" Joe Dallesandro claims to have been the model.[8]

After retailers complained that the zipper was causing damage to the vinyl (from stacked shipments of the record), the zipper was "unzipped" slightly to the middle of the record, where damage would be minimised.

The album features the first usage of the band's "tongue & lips" logo, which was originally designed by Ernie Cefalu. Although Ernie's version was used for much of the merchandising and was the design originally shown to the band by Craig Braun, the design used for the album was illustrated by John Pasche.[9]

In 2003, the TV network VH1 named Sticky Fingers the "No. 1 Greatest Album Cover" of all time.

Alternative version and covers[edit]

In Spain, the original cover was censored and replaced with a "Can of fingers" cover, and "Sister Morphine" was replaced by a live version of Chuck Berry's "Let It Rock". This version was released on the compilation album Rarities 1971–2003 in 2005.

In 1992, the LP release of the album in Russia featured a similar treatment as the original cover; but with Cyrillic lettering for the band name and album name, a colourised photograph of blue jeans with a zipper, and a Soviet Army uniform belt buckle that shows a hammer and sickle inscribed in a star. The model appears to be female.[1]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Retrospective reviews
Review scores
Allmusic5/5 stars[10]
Blender5/5 stars[11]
Robert ChristgauA[12]
eMusic4.5/5 stars[13]
Goldmine5/5 stars[14]
Q5/5 stars[16]
Record Collector5/5 stars[16]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide5/5 stars[17]
Uncut5/5 stars[18]

Sticky Fingers hit the number one spot on the British charts in May 1971, remaining there for four weeks before returning at number one for a further week in mid June. In the US, the album hit number one within days of release, and stayed there for four weeks. In Germany it was one of only two non-German albums to reach number one in 1971.[citation needed]

In a contemporary review for the Los Angeles Times, music critic Robert Hilburn said that although Sticky Fingers is one of the best rock albums of the year, it is only "modest" by the Rolling Stones' standards and succeeds on the strength of songs such as "Bitch" and "Dead Flowers", which recall the band's previously uninhibited, furious style.[19] Jon Landau, writing in Rolling Stone, felt that it lacks the spirit and spontaneity of the Rolling Stones' previous two albums and, apart from "Moonlight Mile", is full of "forced attempts at style and control" in which the band sounds disinterested, particularly on formally correct songs such as "Brown Sugar".[20] In a positive review, Lynn Van Matre of the Chicago Tribune viewed the album as the band "at their raunchy best" and wrote that, although it is "hardly innovative", it is consistent enough to be one of the year's best albums.[21]

Sticky Fingers was voted the second best album of the year in The Village Voice '​s annual Pazz & Jop critics poll for 1971.[22] Lester Bangs voted it number one in the poll and said that it was his most played album of the year.[23] Robert Christgau, the poll's creator, ranked the album seventeenth on his own year-end list.[24] In a 1975 article for The Village Voice, Christgau suggested that the release was "triffling with decadence", but might be the Rolling Stones' best album, approached only by Exile on Main St. (1972).[25] In his 1980 review of the album, he wrote that it reflected how unapologetic the band was after the Altamont Free Concert and that, despite the concession to sincerity with "Wild Horses", songs such as "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" and "I Got the Blues" are as "soulful" as "Good Times", and their cover of "You Gotta Move" is on-par with their previous covers of "Prodigal Son" and "Love in Vain".[12]

In 1994, Sticky Fingers was ranked number ten in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums. He stated, "Dirty rock like this has still to be bettered, and there is still no rival in sight."[26] In a retrospective review, Q magazine said that the album was "the Stones at their assured, showboating peak ... A magic formula of heavy soul, junkie blues and macho rock".[16] NME wrote that it "captures the Stones bluesy swagger" in a "dark-land where few dare to tread".[15] Record Collector magazine said that it showcases Jagger and Richards as they "delve even further back to the primitive blues that first inspired them and step up their investigations into another great American form, country."[16] In his review for Goldmine magazine, Dave Thompson wrote that the album still is superior to "most of The Rolling Stones’ catalog".[14] In 2003, Sticky Fingers was listed as No. 63 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[27]

In 1994 Sticky Fingers was remastered and reissued by Virgin Records. It was remastered again in 2009 by Universal Music Enterprises and in 2011 by Universal Music Enterprises in a Japanese-only SHM-SACD version.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, except where noted.

Side one
1."Brown Sugar"  3:48
2."Sway"  3:50
3."Wild Horses"  5:42
4."Can't You Hear Me Knocking"  7:14
5."You Gotta Move" (Fred McDowell/Gary Davis)2:32
Side two
6."Bitch"  3:38
7."I Got the Blues"  3:54
8."Sister Morphine" (Jagger/Richards/Marianne Faithfull)5:31
9."Dead Flowers"  4:03
10."Moonlight Mile"  5:56


The Rolling Stones
Additional personnel


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gilman, William (July 1971). "The Pick". Gramophone (London) 49: 245. The music is hard rock and a reversion to this group's earlier days prior to their "Beggars' Banquet" album, which is about the most imaginative LP they have achieved. 
  2. ^ The Triumph of Vulgarity : Rock Music in the Mirror of Romanticism by Robert Pattison, page 115
  3. ^ Elliot, Martin (2002). The Rolling Stones: Complete Recording Sessions 1962 – 2002. Cherry Red Books LTD. pp. 163–164. ISBN 1 901447 04 9. 
  4. ^ Wyman, Bill (2002). Rolling with the Stones. Dorling Kindersley Limited. p. 349. ISBN 0 7513 4646 2. 
  5. ^ Sanchez, Tony (1996). Up and Down with the Rolling Stones, p. 195. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80711-4.
  6. ^ Greenfield, Robert (2006). Exile on Main Street: A Season in Hell with the Rolling Stones, pp. 95–96. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-81433-1.
  7. ^ Sticky Fingers vinyl artwork
  8. ^ "Album Cover Joe". Retrieved 12 May 2013. 
  9. ^ Goldstein, Mike. "UnCovered Interview – The Rolling Stones Lips & Tongue logo, with designs by Ernie Cefalu". RockPoP Gallery. RockPoP Gallery. Retrieved 19 May 2011. 
  10. ^ Allmusic review
  11. ^ Blender review
  12. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. p. 329. ISBN 0899190251. 
  13. ^ Beta, Andy (10 December 2010). "The Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers". eMusic. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Thompson, Dave (9 May 2011). "True 5-Star Albums: Rolling Stones’ ‘Sticky Fingers’". Goldmine. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  15. ^ a b "Review: Sticky Fingers". NME (London): 43. 9 July 1994. 
  16. ^ a b c d "Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers CD Album". Muze. Archived from the original on 11 July 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  17. ^ Moon, Tom (2004). "The Rolling Stones". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. London: Fireside. pp. 695–699. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.  Portions posted at "The Rolling Stones > Album Guide". Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  18. ^ Cavanagh, David. "Album Reviews: The Rolling Stones Reissues". Uncut (London). Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  19. ^ Hilburn, Robert (9 May 1971). "The Survival of 'Sticky Fingers'". Los Angeles Times. p. Q37. Retrieved 11 July 2013.  (subscription required)
  20. ^ Landau, Jon (23 April 1971). "Sticky Fingers". Rolling Stone (New York). Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  21. ^ Van Matre, Lynn (30 April 1971). "'Stones' at their raunchy best". Chicago Tribune. section 2, p. B12. Retrieved 11 July 2013.  (subscription required)
  22. ^ "The 1971 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice (New York). 10 February 1972. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  23. ^ Christgau, Robert (17 February 1972). "Pazz & Jop Critics Poll: What Does It All Mean?". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  24. ^ Christgau, Robert (10 February 1972). "Pazz & Jop 1971: Dean's List". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  25. ^ "It Isn't Only Rock and Roll". The Village Voice (New York). 30 June 1975. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  26. ^ Larkin, Colin (1994). Guinness Book of Top 1000 Albums (1 ed.). Gullane Children's Books. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-85112-786-6. 
  27. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone (New York): 113. 11 December 2003. 
  28. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  29. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 15, No. 17". RPM. 12 June 1971. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 
  30. ^ a b " The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers" (ASP). Hung Medien (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  31. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). Retrieved 1 June 2013. Note: user must select 'The Rolling Stones' from drop-down.
  32. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1971" (in Italian). Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  33. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  34. ^ " The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers" (ASP). Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  35. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  36. ^ "Swedish Charts 1969–1972 / Kvällstoppen – Listresultaten vecka för vecka > Maj 1971 > 18 Maj". (in Swedish). Retrieved 13 February 2014. Note: Kvällstoppen combined sales for albums and singles in the one chart; Sticky Fingers peaked at the number-two on the list, behind "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" by Middle of the Road.
  37. ^ "The Rolling Stones > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  38. ^ "Allmusic: Sticky Fingers : Charts & Awards : Billboard Albums". Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  39. ^ "Album Search: The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers" (ASP) (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  40. ^ " The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers" (ASP). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  41. ^ " The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers" (ASP). (in French). SNEP. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  42. ^ "ザ・ローリング・ストーンズ-リリース-ORICON STYLE-ミュージック" [Highest position and charting weeks of Sticky Fingers by The Rolling Stones]. (in Japanese). Oricon Style. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  43. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1971" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  44. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1971 par InfoDisc" (PHP) (in French). Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  45. ^ "The Official UK Charts Company : ALBUM CHART HISTORY". Archived from the original on 13 August 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2007. 
  46. ^ 1971 Year-end Albums – The Billboard Pop Albums. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  47. ^ "French album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 1 June 2012.  Select THE ROLLING STONES and click OK
  48. ^ "Les Albums Or". SNEP. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  49. ^ "British album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 1 May 2012.  Enter Sticky Fingers in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  50. ^ "American album certifications – The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 1 May 2012.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]