Famous Rock Album Covers - Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers Photo Story

2020 Album Draft- Round 5- Pick 9- Introgroove selects- The Rolling Stones- Sticky Fingers.

Introgroove’s blog can be found at – https://introgroove.com/

It’s just that demon life has got me in its sway…

When it comes to filthy, gritty, living in the moment, above the law, unforgiving, unapologetic rock bands, the Rolling Stones are the original standard bearers. Within their unlikely and absurdly long life as a group – fast approaching 60 years – the stretch of albums loosely termed by many fans as the “Mick Taylor years” stand out for their return to basics, while at the same time cranking it up about 100 notches (I also include the pre-Taylor Beggars Banquet with these releases). For me, at the top of the heap, even if only by a few degrees, is Sticky Fingers. This is the one. This album represents everything I love about the Stones, Brian Jones’s unique contributions notwithstanding.

Sticky Fingers: The Lost Session – Snap Galleries Limited

There were a couple of periods of recording beginning in early 1969, with the bulk of studio work taking place the following year, concluding in December 1970. It was released on April 23, 1971. The album, with its distinctive Andy Warhol Factory designed cover which included, on initial pressings, an actual functioning zipper, topped the charts worldwide soon after. Sticky Fingers was the band’s first album of the 1970’s, and the first on their Rolling Stones label featuring the iconic tongue and lips logo. But, as always, it’s about the MUSIC, maaaan…

And the vibe. To my ears, the vibe or tone of the album is actually set with the count in to the second track, Sway, and it never lets up. Chances are you know this album well, or are at least familiar with it, and you know what I mean. And let’s give major credit where it’s due right now: The session players on Sticky Fingers were an all-star band in themselves, and are arguably as important to this record as the principals. Bobby Keys and Jim Price brought crucial sax and trumpet contributions. They rocked on tracks like Bitch, and displayed soul on the Stax ballad inspired I Got the Blues along with Billy Preston on the organ. Price also added the beautiful piano part to Moonlight Mile, with only he and the two Micks on the main track.

billy preston | seventies music

Other major contributions include Ry Cooder’s slide guitar and Jack Nitzsche’s piano on Sister Morphine, and Paul Buckmaster’s string arrangements on Sway and Moonlight Mile. Imagine those songs without those sounds. Other session players included stalwarts Nicky Hopkins, Rocky Dijon, Jim Dickinson, and Ian Stewart, and though he didn’t play on the album, Sticky Fingers wouldn’t have been what it is without the influence of Gram Parsons. The evidence is on Wild Horses and Dead Flowers. If we’re to include alternate versions, Eric Clapton and Al Kooper can be heard on the looser 2015 bonus disc cut of Brown Sugar. But the core, as always, was Mick and Keith and the boys, now including Mick Taylor, and it’s Taylor’s lead guitar interacting with Richards’s and Jagger’s rhythm playing that took the band’s sound to a place it hadn’t been before his arrival and hasn’t returned to in the 46 years since his departure, with all due respect to Brian Jones and Ronnie Wood.

Mick Taylor - Wikiwand

I don’t know why, but I’m fascinated by bands from that era that stretched and often broke the rules and not only kept it together but seemed to thrive on the chaos. Perhaps guys like Elvis, Hank, and others raised eyebrows earlier, but the Stones flaunted damn near every taboo in society’s face in these songs and said What of it, mate? These years found them defying not only the law, but the Grim Reaper as well, bless Keith’s heart (and veins), and they survived. Sticky Fingers is truly a fly on the wall album for anyone who wants to know what they were about without the visual horrors of watching the cinéma vérité documentary of their 1972 U.S. tour, Cocksucker Blues, that make one want to take a shower after viewing (just remember, I didn’t tell you to watch it). This isn’t the first “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” album, but along with Let it Bleed, Exile on Main St. and the others, it’s about as extreme as it gets, especially considering when it came out. It’s an album that makes Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, and certainly latter day examples like the Gallagher and Robinson brothers of Oasis and the Black Crows, respectively – great rock artists that they all are – look like silly wannabes (and I like all of those bands, too). It’s a perfect rock album, and it’s on my island if you want to kayak over and listen some time.


Side One:

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

Side Two:

  1. Bitch
  2. I Got the Blues
  3. Sister Morphine
  4. Dead Flowers
  5. Moonlight Mile



  1. Definitely the Stones at their basic, raunchiest rock best and close to the prototype for what people think of when they think “Rolling Stones.” Great writeup!
    Second day in a row Ry Cooder’s slide guitar makes a cameo!

  2. This is why I will need a kayak on my island. 🙂 Not all of the links are working for me, but I don’t need them to say this is a great pick. Some of their biggest hits and Sister Morphine, too. Nod to Marianne Faithfull. I’ve even had a meal at Bill Wyman’s Sticky Fingers restaurant. The menus were a copy of the album cover, and now I’m trying to remember if they contained a working zipper. Shame on me for forgetting such an important detail. :p Your write up set the scene for this album vividly. It was an incredible time culturally, and they they had an incredible group of contributing musicians, and they were figuring out marketing gimmicks, which they are still masters of to this day (Carnaby Street flagship store on the way). I will enjoy listening to this today.

  3. Cool that you mention the help they brought in for this album. I like all those people and their work. Stones did that a lot and I dont think it gets mentioned all that much. Bobby Keys always does it for me. So does Cooder. Good pick.

  4. Great review Stephen… to me this is their best album song by song. Every song is good. I’ve watched that documentary before…it has to be seen to be believed.
    This album and Exile was their peak I would say…

  5. Great pick- you can’t go wrong with any of those albums from The Stones classic period. Iconic album cover to go with it.

  6. Stephen, I made a comment on your blog about the write-up. Great choice for the draft. I’m at the halfway point of Keith’s book. He has already said some about Bobby Keys in there and probably will be saying more. The Rolling Stones are one of my Top Bands along with The Beatles, Pearl Jam, U2, and REM.

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