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Sticky Fingers is the 9th British and 11th American studio album by the English rock band the Rolling Stones. The Stones released it on 23 April 1971 on their new, and own label Rolling Stones Records. They had been contracted by Decca Records and London Records in the UK and the US since 1963. On this album Mick Taylor made his second full-length appearance on a Rolling Stones album (after the live album Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!). It was the first studio album without Brian Jones who died two years earlier. The original cover artwork, conceived by Andy Warhol and photographed and designed by members of his art collective, The Factory, showed a picture of a man in tight jeans, and had a working zip that opened to reveal underwear fabric. The cover was expensive to produce and damaged the vinyl record, so later re-issues featured just the outer photograph of the jeans.
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The album features the first usage of the tongue and lips logo of Rolling Stones Records, originally designed by John Pasche in 1970. Jagger suggested to Pasche that he copy the outstuck tongue of the Hindu goddess Kali, and while Pasche first felt it would date the image back to the Indian culture craze of the 1960s, seeing Kali made him change his mind. Before the end of that year his basic version was faxed to Craig Braun by Marshall Chess. The black & white copy was then modified by Braun and his team, resulting in today's most popular red version, the slim one with the two white stripes on the tongue. Critic Sean Egan has said of the logo, "Without using the Stones' name, it instantly conjures them, or at least Jagger, as well as a certain lasciviousness that is the Stones' own ... It quickly and deservedly became the most famous logo in the history of popular music." The tongue and lips design was part of a package that, in 2003, VH1 named the "No. 1 Greatest Album Cover" of all time.
Sticky Fingers was released on 23 April 1971 and hit the number one spot on the British charts in May 1971, remaining there for four weeks before returning at number one for a further week in mid June. In the US, the album hit number one within days of release, and stayed there for four weeks. The album spent a total of 69 weeks on the Billboard 200. According to Billboard's Top 200 list, it was one of many albums that topped the German chart that year.
In a contemporary review for the Los Angeles Times, music critic Robert Hilburn said that although Sticky Fingers is one of the best rock albums of the year, it is only "modest" by the Rolling Stones' standards and succeeds on the strength of songs such as "Bitch" and "Dead Flowers," which recall the band's previously uninhibited, furious style. Jon Landau, writing in Rolling Stone, felt that it lacks the spirit and spontaneity of the Rolling Stones' previous two albums and, apart from "Moonlight Mile", is full of "forced attempts at style and control" in which the band sounds disinterested, particularly on formally correct songs such as "Brown Sugar." Writing for Rolling Stone in 2015, David Fricke called it "an eclectic affirmation of maturing depth" and the band's "sayonara to a messy 1969". In a positive review, Lynn Van Matre of the Chicago Tribune viewed the album as the band "at their raunchy best" and wrote that, although it is "hardly innovative," it is consistent enough to be one of the year's best albums. Writing for Slate, Jack Hamilton praised the album in a retrospective review, stating that it was "one of the greatest albums in rock 'n' roll history."
Sticky Fingers was voted the second best album of the year in The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics poll for 1971. Lester Bangs voted it number one in the poll and said that it was his most played album of the year. Robert Christgau, the poll's creator, ranked the album 17th on his own year-end list. In a 1975 article for The Village Voice, Christgau suggested that the release was "triffling with decadence", but might be the Rolling Stones' best album, approached only by Exile on Main St. (1972). In Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), he wrote that it reflected how unapologetic the band was after the Altamont Free Concert and that, despite the concession to sincerity with "Wild Horses", songs such as "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" and "I Got the Blues" are as "soulful" as "Good Times," and their cover of "You Gotta Move" is on-par with their previous covers of "Prodigal Son" and "Love in Vain."
In June 2015, the Rolling Stones reissued Sticky Fingers (in its 2009 remastering) in a variety of formats to coincide with a new concert tour, the Zip Code Tour. The Deluxe and Super Deluxe versions of the reissue featured previously unreleased bonus material (depending on the format): alternative takes of some songs, live tracks recorded on 14 March 1971 at the Roundhouse (venue), London, and the complete 13 March 1971 show at Leeds University. It re-entered the UK Albums chart at number 7, extending their UK Top 10 album chart span beyond 51 years and 2 months since their self-titled debuted at number 7 on 23 April 1964.It also re-entered the US Albums chart at number 5, extending their US Top 10 album chart span beyond 50 years and 6 months since 12 x 5 on 14 December 1964.