The Rolling Stones: Sticky Fingers (released 1971, reissued 2015)

 |   |  2 min read

The Rolling Stones: I Got the Blues
The Rolling Stones: Sticky Fingers (released 1971, reissued 2015)

When the Rolling Stones entered the Seventies they were broke, battered and staggering.

In '69 Keith Richards had started snorting heroin (while drinking Jack Daniel's and beer) which would lead to addiction, and at the end of that year they played the sulphurous cesspit of Altamont, a violent festival which effectively buried the spirit of the Woodstock Generation.

In July '70 -- after realising they were effectively broke – they fired their manager Allen Klein and were advised to move to France for a year as tax exiles. In March '71 they played a short tour in Britain before departing, but there was a hostile atmosphere as fans and the media berated them for abandoning the country that made them.

They just seemed like poncy rock star royals.

The atmosphere around the band was toxic but out of such circumstances they pulled two great albums, Sticky Fingers released in April '71 and the double Exile on Main Street a year later.

These days Exile – dismissed by many critics at the time – is considered one of the great, if not greatest, Stones' albums . . . but in many ways Sticky Fingers (in the zipper cover designed by Andy Warhol, which ripped adjacent record covers to shreds) was its equal.

Given the circumstances of its birth – some songs recorded at Muscle Shoals in Alabama, others at Olympic in London and Mick Jagger's studio at his 16th century English country estate of Stargroves – it's surprising that it should be so strong and enduring.

The album is aural debauchery which captured the condition of the era.

It is soaked in sex (Brown Sugar), drugs (Sister Morphine, Dead Flowers, the nodding-off Moonlight Mile), blues-based rock'n'roll (Bitch) and damaged-sounding country music (Sway, the world-weary Wild Horses).

stones_71Newer member Mick Taylor on guitar (second from left) contributes fine solos on Sway, the gritty Can't You Hear Me Knocking stretches to seven minutes ending with a spontaneous jam between Richards and Taylor, and they went back to their roots on the traditional country blues You Got to Move which proved what a fine acoustic blues band they could be.

Sticky Fingers – on their newly formed Rolling Stones Records with its famous tongue logo and produced by the great Jimmy Miller – topped the charts and stands today as a landmark of drug-soaked rock'n'roll with its ears on the music's origins in blues and country.

stickyThe album now comes in various expanded editions as part of the on-going Stones reissue series (just as they start a 15-date North American tour).

The most elaborate version includes previously unreleased songs, two disc of live material and alternate versions (Brown Sugar with Eric Clapton, an acoustic Wild Horses, a lot of songs from their previous album Let It Bleed) and a DVD of Midnight Rambler and Bitch. There is of course a vinyl version as well.

Sticky fingers are reaching for your wallet.


For much more on the Rolling Stones at Elsewhere including interviews, overviews and reviews go here

Share It

Your Comments

Graham Dunster - Jun 8, 2015

Not the same disagreement about recycling that infected your Led Zep sermons - does this mean that we punters should be saving our pennies for this monster version - or just going back to our original lp? And whatever did happen to that Bob Dylan Basement Tapes Vol 11 review? Where you suffer so we don't have to....

GlimmerTwin - Jun 8, 2015

So the corporate machine that is Stone Inc has headed off again on tour this time promoting the re-issue (ZIP CODE anyone?) . Despite (and how is this possible?) the Stones Mach II all still being alive and capable of playing , Taylor and Wyman do not figure in any plans which to me is a great lost opportunity - if any album really had Taylor's influence this was it. As for the reissue, just listened to the live tracks via Spotify and again illustrates how this version of the Stones was able to conjure up something that defies belief and musical logic (who follows who , where is the beat etc). Also when introductions take place you realise again how no-one else is left standing in the sidemen stakes (Keyes, Hopkins, Stewart) but the Stones somehow remain immune.

graham Hooper - Jun 9, 2015

Zip Code Tour Name kind of Goes with the Zipper on the Album Cover ...It was and Still is a Great album But wasn't it Re Released a while Back as a Re Mastered Aniversary Version?

mason baker - Jun 30, 2015

Great album! My favorite stones album.

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Hypnotic Eye (Warners)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Hypnotic Eye (Warners)

Most rock fans agree TP and his cracking Heartbreakers had a decade-long dream run after their self-titled debut in 76. Their taut Beatles/Byrds pop-rock welded to a nuggety rock'n'roll attitude... > Read more

Various Artists: The New York Dolls Heard Them Here First (Ace/Border)

Various Artists: The New York Dolls Heard Them Here First (Ace/Border)

There are quite a number of these kinds of collections available now -- the music on the imagined jukeboxes of George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, the Cramps etc, and in this series the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere



The annual festival of photography which opens in Auckland today at various locations, is more than just a showcase of the work by many and diverse photographers but also offers the viewer an... > Read more

THE MYSTERY AND MUSIC OF OF MARGARET (2014): A photo, a cassette and a strange tale

THE MYSTERY AND MUSIC OF OF MARGARET (2014): A photo, a cassette and a strange tale

Cassette tapes don't turn up in my letterbox that often these days. In fact not for at least a decade, maybe even much longer. They tell me there's a cult audience out there who like the... > Read more