Friday, 23 April 2021

sticky fingers

Released on this day in 1971, recorded two Decembers hence in Muscle Shoals Alabama, the eleventh studio album by the Rolling Stones (previously) with songs Wild Horses, Brown Sugar and Sister Morphine, was quite unsubtle in terms of innuendo with a cover showing a tightly denim clad crotch—that was the subject of censorship in many markets, like in Franco’s Spain where it was released as Can of Fingers or in the USSR where a Soviet military uniform was modelled by a female.
The LP version’s fly had a functional zipper—which was mid-way unzipped prior to distribution as customers were scratching the vinyl if zipped all the way up. Packaging designed by Andy Warhol—notably the liner-notes also featuring the first appearance of the iconic lips and tongue logo, postponed its premiere but the band was enthusiastic about the concept. Mistakenly I had assumed the image was of Mick Jagger when in reality it was a random, cast-off photograph Warhol had recently taken of one of his pet superstars, underground actor Joe Dallesandro (*1948)—who in addition to this cultural artefact, became a street hustling icon and sex symbol—serenaded in a verse of Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk on the Wild Side,” about Warhol’s Factory workers in general, as Little Joe. The album topped the charts in the US a month later.