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Sticky Fingers is the ninth studio album by English rock band The Rolling Stones, released in April 1971. It is the band's first album of the 1970s and its first release on the band's newly-formed label, Rolling Stones Records, after having been contracted since 1963 with Decca Records in the UK and London Records in the US. It is also Mick Taylor's first full-length appearance on a Rolling Stones album, and the first not to feature any contributions from founding guitarist Brian Jones. In 2003, Sticky Fingers was listed as number 63 on the List of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Recording and release

Although sessions for Sticky Fingers began in earnest in March 1970, they had done some early recording at Muscle Shoals Studios in Alabamamarker in December 1969 and "Sister Morphine", cut during Let It Bleed's sessions earlier in March of that year, was held over for this release. Much of the recording for Sticky Fingers was effected with The Rolling Stones' mobile studio unit in Stargrovesmarker during the summer and fall months in 1970. Early versions of songs that would appear on Exile on Main St. were also routined during these sessions.

With the end of their Decca/London association at hand, The Rolling Stones would finally be free to release their albums (cover art and all) as they pleased. However, soon-to-be-ex-manager Allen Klein (who took over the reins from Andrew Loog Oldham in 1965 so that Oldham could concentrate on producing the band), dealt the group a major blow when they discovered that they had inadvertently signed over their entire 1960s copyrights to Klein and his company ABKCO, which is how all of their material from 1963's "Come On" to Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! The Rolling Stones in Concert has since come to be released by ABKCO Records. The band would remain incensed with Klein for decades over the swindle.

When Decca informed The Rolling Stones that they were owed one more single, they cheekily submitted a track called "Cocksucker Blues" which was guaranteed to be refused. Instead, Decca released the two-year-old Beggars Banquet track "Street Fighting Man" while Allen Klein would have dual copyright ownership—with The Rolling Stones—of "Brown Sugar" and "Wild Horses".

In 1994 Sticky Fingers was remastered and reissued by Virgin Records, and again in 2009 by Universal Music.


The artwork for Sticky Fingers—which features a working zipper that opened to reveal a man in cotton briefs (rubber stamped "THIS PHOTOGRAPH MAY NOT BE-ETC.")—was conceived by American pop artist Andy Warhol, photographed by Billy Name and designed by John Pasche. The cover, a photo of Joe Dallesandro's crotch clad in tight blue jeans, was assumed by many fans to be an image of Mick Jagger, however the people actually involved at the time of the photo shoot claim that Warhol had several different men photographed (Jagger was not among them) and never revealed which shots he used. Among the candidates, Jed Johnson, Warhol's lover at the time, denied it was his likeness (he died in 1996 aboard TWA Flight 800marker) although his twin brother Jay is a possibility. Those closest to the shoot -- and subsequent design -- name Factory artist and designer Corey Tippin as the likeliest candidate. After retailers complained that the zipper was causing damage to the vinyl (from stacked shipments of the record), the zipper was "unzipped" slightly to the middle of the record, where damage would be minimized. The album features the first usage of the "Tongue and Lip Design" designed by John Pasche.

In 2003, the TV network VH1 named Sticky Fingers the "No. 1 Greatest Album Cover" of all time.

Alternate covers

In Spainmarker, the original cover was replaced with a "Can of fingers" cover, and "Sister Morphine" was replaced by the Chuck Berry composition "Let it Rock".

In 1992, the LP release of the album in Russiamarker featured a similar treatment as the original cover, but with a colorized photo and a hammer and sickle inscribed in a star as the belt buckle. Also, on the cover and label, the band name, album name and song names are all shown in Cyrillic lettering.

Track listing

All songs by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, except where noted.

Side one
  1. "Brown Sugar" – 3:50
  2. "Sway" – 3:52
  3. "Wild Horses" – 5:44
  4. "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" – 7:15
  5. "You Gotta Move" (Fred McDowell, Rev. Gary Davis) – 2:34

Side two
  1. "Bitch" – 3:37
  2. "I Got the Blues" – 3:54
  3. "Sister Morphine" (Jagger, Richards, Marianne Faithfull) – 5:34
  4. "Dead Flowers" – 4:05
  5. "Moonlight Mile" – 5:56


The Rolling Stones

Additional musicians

Sales chart performance

Year Chart Position
1971 UK Top 50 Albums 1
1971 Billboard Pop Albums 1
1971 Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart 1

Year Single Chart Position
1971 "Brown Sugar" / "Bitch" & "Let It Rock" UK Top 50 Singles 2
1971 "Brown Sugar" The Billboard Hot 100 1
1971 "Wild Horses" The Billboard Hot 100 28


  2. Greenfield, Robert (2006). Exile on Main Street: A Season in Hell with the Rolling Stones, pp. 95-96. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0306814331.
  3. Sanchez, Tony (1996). Up and Down with the Rolling Stones, p. 195. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0306807114.

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