The Rolling Stones 1971 album artwork Sticky fingers is one of the most recognizable in rock history. Still, a design flaw with the LP cover art nearly derailed the release.
The concept for the work came from Andy Warhol, who was a friend of Mick Jagger at the time.
“I knew Andy very well. I gave him the album title and he came back with this really innovative design, ”Jagger recalls in the new book. The Rolling Stones: decompressed. Warhol’s idea included a close-up of a man’s groin in jeans, with a working zipper. Behind her, the image of a man in white underpants would be added. Even with that extra layer, the zipper proved to be problematic.
“It’s quite complicated because there are a lot of components: the outer crotch plane and the inner underwear, which is pretty sexy. The cover has a real zipper, ”Jagger explained. “The problem was to ship them. When we closed the cover, the weight of all the albums made a dent in the vinyl. “
As any fan of vinyl records will know, damage to vinyl permanently alters its sound. In the case of the beginning Sticky fingers pressures, the dent regularly affected Side Two’s song “Sister Morphine”. It was Craig Braun, the designer responsible for bringing the idea of the work to life, who quickly found a solution.
“I had this idea that maybe, if the glue was dry enough, we could have the little old ladies at the end of the assembly line pull the zipper far enough that the round part touches the center disc label, ”he recalls. To The New York Times in 2015. “It worked and it was even better to see the zipper pulled halfway down. Jagger called it an “incredible solution”, admitting that he “thought we were screwed, basically.”
Released in April 1971, Sticky fingers sold over 3 million copies in the United States Over 50 years later, it is still considered one of the greatest rock albums. Likewise, the LP cover remains emblematic. In 2003, VH1 named it the greatest album cover of all time.
Due October 26, The Rolling Stones: decompressed includes over 350 photos of the Rolling Stones’ musical instruments, stage clothing, and album cover designs. It also features new commentary from Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood.
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