The Sticky Fingers ZipperWho’s Really Behind the Design?

Recently the Rolling Stones announced that Sticky Fingers is to be reissued in early June to coincide with their Zip Code Tour. I thought it would be a good chance to take a quick look at one of the most iconic album cover designs of the time.

Rolling Stones lip logo.

Rolling Stones lip logo by John Pashe.

This was the Stones’ first album of the 1970’s and also the first to be released on their new label featuring their now-famous “lips” logo, which was illustrated by John Pashe. The album featured a full-size working zipper, which when unzipped revealed a pair of tidy whities. Initially the record shipped with the zipper in the up position, but when it was determined that the stacking of records was causing skips in the song “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” the zipper was pulled down.

While Sticky Fingers is widely believed to have been designed by Andy Warhol, that’s not quite true. It was indeed Warhol’s concept, but was designed by Craig Braun and shot by Billy Name (a member of Warhol’s “Factory”). Braun got his start in the print business, and branched out on his own after “inventing” the cheap P.O.P. sticker you’d see on albums back then proclaiming “Contains The Hit Single.” There was quite a bit of speculation that the cover model responsible for the large penis bulge was Mick Jagger. Untrue. Likely that was another Warhol protégé.


Webb’s shot of the band with Jagger yawning.

A second photographer named Peter Webb was responsible for the liner image of the band, which features a widely yawning Jagger. Shortly after the shoot, Webb lost his negatives. They didn’t show up until forty years later. A little more on the lost Sticky Fingers session images and the story behind the yawning shot can be found here.

For more info and links regarding Sticky Fingers, read the Wikipedia article here.

About The Author

Graphic Design & Artist

I’m Ed Ward of Mental Ward Design, and I’m a graphic designer, art director, and production artist. I specialize in image manipulation and graphic design using Photoshop, but I don't stop there. I hold a BFA degree from Rutgers University and have years of experience as a Graphic Designer, Marketing Manager, Art Director and Director of Advertising for companies in the Entertainment, Motorcycle, and Wholesale Travel industries. Since 1998 I’ve devoted my professional efforts to full-time independent graphic design.