As any Stones fan will tell you, the album “Sticky Fingers” showcases Mick, Keith and the boys at their very best. Listed as number 63 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, “Sticky Fingers” was the first of the Stones’ albums to skip contributions by founding guitarist Brian Jones and instead, to feature Mick Jagger playing a Brazilian-style guitar himself.
If the switch in lead guitar hadn’t been enough to knock Stone’s fans off their feet when the album was released in April of 1971, the cover art finished the job. Featuring a suggestive photo of a male crotch, the original cover had the name of the album and band inscribed on the belt and included an actual working zipper that undid to reveal a pair of white briefs stamped with artist Andy Warhol’s name and a warning about reproduction of the photo.
(The big question: Did that photo-crotch belong to Mick Jagger? Fans desperately wanted to think so, but in fact, that famously erotic lower region has never officially been attributed to any model, although Warhol’s boyfriend of the time seemed a likely candidate.)
Ultimately, lead guitar and cover art aside, what makes Sticky Fingers the incredible album it is lies in the lineup of songs…most notably, “Brown Sugar”. Is there a patron in the audience tonight who hasn’t cranked up the volume on the car radio when that tune plays? Breathes there a soul so dead that he or she isn’t at least tempted to head for the dance floor when Mick rasps out those opening lyrics? “Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields, Sold in a market down in New Orleans, Scarred old slaver knows he’s doing alright, Hear him with the women just around midnight.”
In this, the 50th anniversary of the greatest band in the history of rock and roll, it’s particularly fitting that the Centre For The Arts Stage should come alive with the Rolling Stone’s “Sticky Fingers” on Thursday, December 6. For info. www.arts.brocku.ca