MEAN PAIR OF JEANS: The album artwork was conceived by famed pop artist Andy Warhol and original vinyl copies came with an actual working zip, undone to reveal a man’s crotch in jocks.


1. Brown Sugar
2. Sway
3. Wild Horses
4. Can’t You Hear Me Knocking
5. You Gotta Move

6. Bitch
7. I Got the Blues
8. Sister Morphine
9. Dead Flowers
10. Moonlight Mile

Sticky Fingers

Dripping in sex and drug subjugation >an orgy of excess wrapped in a wonder wall of sound.

Apr 1971

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Album inner sleeve: The crotch in jocks.
Album inner sleeve: The crotch in jocks.

AN ORGY OF EXCESS from the dripping in sex Brown Sugar to bed-riddled drug subjugation in Sister Morphine > Sticky Fingers comes wrapped in a wall of sound.

And the sheer musicianship > bold rock rhythm, a jazz/rock jam (Can’t You Hear Me Knocking), butch brass on Bitch and tender ballads  >Wild Horses and Moonlight Mile.  

The Rolling Stones expand their sound with a host of session musicians including a three-piece horn section > with good ol’ boy Bobby Keyes from Lubbock County, Texas, on sax.  Keyes goes on to be a regular on the Stones stage.

But be in no doubt the Stones are the driving force > with hot Keith Richards riffs, late-night blues and even country comedy on Dead Flowers.

The album artwork is by New York pop artist Andy Warhol > with a man’s underpants and mid-section revealed upon opening a real zip on the original vinyl album cover.

There was the usual  “tsk, tsk” from the chattering classes. The Sticky Fingers album cover was even banned in Spain.

“Sticky Fingers was the first time we added horns. That was the influence of people like Otis Redding and James Brown.”
> drummer Charlie Watts [see, he does speak] from book According to the Rolling Stones

CAUGHT WITH PANTS DOWN: The Brown Sugar single: (from left) drummer Charlie Watts, guitarist Mick Taylor, bass man Bill Wyman, guitarist Keith Richards and singer Mick Jagger.
CAUGHT WITH PANTS DOWN: The Brown Sugar single: (from left) drummer Charlie Watts, guitarist Mick Taylor, bass man Bill Wyman, guitarist Keith Richards and singer Mick Jagger.


Sticky Fingers launches with Brown Sugar’s full-on rock and riff > the key guitar part coming to Mick Jagger while soaking up the Australian outback > but played by Keith Richards.

Multi-layer acoustic guitars, bold brass led by a Bobby Keys sax solo and suggestive lyrics pound out of Brown Sugar. Jagger said: “God knows what that song is about. All the nasty subjects in one go’’ > to Rolling Stone magazine 1995.

The excess has taken its toll in wonderfully lackadaisical blues/rock Sway > with a Mick Taylor lead guitar break on his first fully-fledged Rolling Stones album > having played only a few tracks on previous album Let It Bleed.

 Wild Horses > one of the Stones best ballads > is meshed in acoustic guitars as a forlorn Mick Jagger declares “wild horses couldn’t drag me away”.

Just when it might be getting too sweetie pie > Keith Richards’ grinding guitar launches Can’t You Hear Me Knocking > which switches midway to a jazz/rock fusion with solos from Bobby Keys and Mick Taylor > his guitar work here rated probably his best with the Rolling Stones.

The fortunately short You Gotta Move > with wailing guitars and vocals > soon makes way for relentless rocker Bitch > full-on sound with big brass. The horn arrangements are by trumpet player Jim Price, also to become a Stones on-stage regular.

The horns are also prominent in I Got the Blues.  Almost 30 years later, Keith Richards told a rock magazine this was his favourite Rolling Stones song > an odd choice considering there’s not a trace of his trademark rockin’ rhythm riffs. It is instead a superb blues piece > with soul maestro Billy Preston on organ.

The mere mention of an illicit drug in a song title > Sister Morphine > was fodder for noble outrage in 1970 > and that outrage didn’t change that much over the decade. Three years after the Sticky Fingers album, the Rolling Stones had a whole lot of trouble calling a song Starfucker > album Goats Head Soup.

 The despairing Sister Morphine was mostly Mick Jagger girlfriend Marianne Fathfull’s lyrics > though not given any songwriting credit. And she should know about addiction > having that year fallen into a coma for several weeks after a drug overdose in Sydney, Australia.    

Country romp Dead Flowers has a mocking Mick taking comfort from being mistreated in love by retreating to the basement > “with a needle and a spoon. And another girl to take my pain away”.

MUFF DIVING, ANYONE? A 1970s bush in a scene from Cocksucker Blues.
MUFF DIVING, ANYONE? A 1970s bush in a scene from Cocksucker Blues.

Sticky Fingers ends with dream-like Moonlight Mile > swirls of strings and layers of Mick Taylor guitar. It really was a Taylor-Jagger song, but credit was given to Jagger-Richards > despite Keith not even being on it.

A great way to end a great album > many standout songs, rich in diversity and musicianship.


THE ROLLING Stones and their record label Decca > called the London label in the US > were feuding at the end of the Sixties as their contract drew to a close. Decca claimed they were entitled to one more single > so the Stones gave them Cocksucker Blues.

 Well aware that such a song > with those two words and other not-so-niceties riddled throughout > could never be released. And it never was, officially.

There’s a Rolling Stones documentary also titled Cocksucker Blues > which hardly ever sees the light of day. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the Stones 1972 tour of America > one scene featuring band members getting it off with groupies in the back of their private plane.

Under complicated legal arrangements, the Rolling Stones have never allowed the Cocksucker Blues film to be officially released. Film director Robert Frank instead given the right to screen the film once > and I do mean once ­ >­  in a blue moon. [Well, that was the edict up until about now – circa 2016.]


A weird romp wrapped in sex and violence >the first film Mick Jagger acted in was Performance.  It also starred James Fox and Keith Richard’s girlfriend > Anita Pallenberg.

Reports raged of a furious Keith Richard’s waiting in his car outside the London film location > as Jagger and Anita Pallenberg were said to being do more than the required nude scenes.

Rolling_Stones_tongue_logoRichards himself had taken Pallenberg from fellow Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones in the late 1960s > on an ill-fated threesome trip to Morocco.

The film Performance was released in 1970 and on May 12 of  the following year Mick Jagger married his first wife > Nicaraguan beauty Bianca Perez Modena de Macias. She was 25 and he 27.

They divorced in 1979 > after Jagger had already taken up with Texan model Jerry Hall, partner of 1970s British rock crooner Bryan Ferry [until she met Jagger, that is!!]


The tongue logo first appeared on the Rolling Stones song Brown Sugar > the first single released on the band’s own label > and off the Sticky Fingers album.

The logo was designed by London Royal College of Art post-graduate student John Pasche > who went on to do the Rolling Stone’s British 1971, America 1972 and Europe ’73 tour posters.


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