May 22, 1971: Rolling Stones’ ‘Sticky Fingers’ Hits #1

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Famed for its cover of a man’s crotch in jeans designed by Andy Warhol that featured a real zipper in its first pressing – later nixed because it damaged the vinyl inside, and today a prized collectors item – the 11th American album release by the reigning “World’s Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band,” The Rolling Stones, was the first to feature new guitarist Mick Taylor throughout and no tracks with Brian Jones. It yielded the #1 single “Brown Sugar” and Top 30 hit “Wild Horses,” and was eventually certified triple platinum (three million copies sold in the U.S.). It reached #1 in the U.S. on May 22, 1971.

This ad for the album ran in the May 29, 1971 issue of Record World

It was partly recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in the small Tennessee River city of Muscle Shoals, AL, and also at sessions at London’s Olympic Studios and at Mick Jagger’s rural English manor home Stargroves using the Rolling Stones Mobile recording truck.

Guest players on the album include guitarist Ry Cooder, keyboard players Nicky Hopkins (read our article on him here), Billy Preston, Jim Dickinson and sixth Stone Ian Stewart, plus horn players Bobby Keys – whose sax solo on”Brown Sugar” was one of his signature moments – and Jim Horn. The album also saw the first use of the band’s soon-to-be iconic tongue and lips logo.

Watch a great live TV version from 1971…

Related: What were the top-selling albums of 1971?

The crotch pictured on the cover was initially thought by fans to be Jagger’s. Instead it’s one of a number of models who posed for Warhol, the exact identity lost in the mists of history. The artist died on February 22, 1987.

The album was reissued in 2015 in a variety of editions – original vinyl, CD, Deluxe 2-CD and box set, Super Deluxe box set and double vinyl LP – with alternate studio takes and live tracks from 1971 shows at London’s Roundhouse venue and Leeds University.

Related: The #1 albums of 1971

When the Stones tour, tickets are available here and here.

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  1. Jarmo Keranen
    #1 Jarmo Keranen 25 May, 2020, 14:40

    Other horn player with Bobby Keys is Jim Price, not Jim Horn. He plays trumpet, but also plays piano on Moonlight Mile!

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