The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers is one of the most iconic album artworks of rock music as you’d expect it to be. It was created by none other than the pop artist and cultural icon Andy Warhol.
The artist had lent his hand to a number of record sleeves when he was asked by The Rolling Stones to contribute to the artwork of their new album. In the letter from Mick Jagger below, the singer offers up a little bit of advice before wisely suggesting that he will “leave it in your capable hands”.
In 1971, Warhol’s vision of the future was beginning to unfold and the artist had become a cultural figure beyond his wildest dreams when he was messing around with the Velvet Underground in the Factory. He had a Midas touch and everyone was keen to offer Warhol a new project to throw a little shine on.
The Rolling Stones were equally as keen to invite the artist to contribute to their album. It was the band’s ninth record and would go on to establish their legendary status when it arrived in April of 1971. However, while the songs on the record are some of the band’s most beloved, the album artwork did its best to secure its piece of iconography.
The image on the sleeve is that of a shot of Joe Dallesandro‘s denim-clad crotch, a working zip, and, perhaps most importantly, for the very first time, the band’s famous tongue and lips logo from design John Pasche. The sleeve, for that reason alone, will go down in history.
Below see a warm and friendly letter that Mick Jagger sent on to Warhol after he had learned the artist was working on the LP project. Offering some advice, Jagger wrote that in his “short sweet experience, the more complicated the format of the album, e.g. more complex than just pages or fold-out, the more fucked-up the reproduction and agonising the delays.”
He added: “But, having said that, I leave it in your capable hands to do what ever you want.”
He even offers some advice for handling the Rolling Stones’ difficult publishers, especially “Mr.Al Steckler” who will “probably look nervous and say ‘Hurry up’ but take little notice”. The words are gentle and jovial and it makes for a pleasant image of cultural touchpoints reaching out to one another.
See the transcript below:
21st April, 1969
33 Union Square,
I’m really pleased you can do the art-work for our new hits album. Here are 2 boxes of material which you can use, and the record.
In my short sweet experience, the more complicated the format of the album, e.g. more complex than just pages or fold-out, the more fucked-up the reproduction and agonising the delays. But, having said that, I leave it in your capable hands to do what ever you want………..and please write back saying how much money you would like.
Doubtless a Mr.Al Steckler will contact you in New York, with any further information. He will probably look nervous and say “Hurry up” but take little notice.
(Via: Letters of Note)