Rocks In The Attic #163: The Rolling Stones – ‘Sticky Fingers’ (1971)

The album cover to destroy all other album covers, I learnt very quickly to put this in a very thick plastic sleeve. When I first owned this (well, when I first “borrowed” it from my Dad’s record collection), I only had this and Exile On Main Street (again, my Dad’s copy). That particular record has a couple of now-permanent grooves in the rear of its sleeve from the pesky zip on the front of Sticky Fingers.

I now have all of the Stones albums on vinyl (in a fit of pique I bought both of the 2010 vinyl box sets – 1964:1969 and 1971:2005), so I have Sticky Fingers twice now – but only one of them carries the pesky zip (they thought better of including the actual zip on the version included in the 2010 box set).

Sticky Fingers has always been, and I think will always be, my favourite Stones record. It’s damn-near perfect – and the one record in their back-catalogue that almost acts as a line in the sand. Prior to this, they were a Beatle-esque beat combo with a growing tendency towards a heavier sound. From this point on however, they were a rock band, no questions asked.

My favourite Stones period by far is the Mick Taylor years – Sticky Fingers was his first full record with them – and although he looked slightly out of place playing with them live – like a sixth former who’s just won a scholarship to tour with a rock band – his playing really wakes the band up and turns them into something far superior to their years prior to him. The extended jam that forms part of Can’t You Hear Me Knocking would never have happened with Brian Jones in the band – unless the jam consisted of glockenspiel, harp, kazoo, marimbas, etc.

Exile is always considered to be their hour in the sun, and although I love that record too, I have a special place in my heart for Sticky Fingers because I found this one first.

Hit: Brown Sugar

Hidden Gem: Can’t You Hear Me Knocking


5 thoughts on “Rocks In The Attic #163: The Rolling Stones – ‘Sticky Fingers’ (1971)

  1. Matthew Gibson

    Yes, it’s one of the better ones but I have less and less time for the Stones as the years pass. I think that Beggars Banquet and Let it Bleed were already suggesting the direction they were going. Stray Cat Blues at least could have been on Exile on Main Street – and I wonder if that song will get picked up in the investigation into all the celbrity paedophilia that’s being dug up currently.

  2. Matthew Gibson

    I mean Brian Jones is on Beggar’s Banquet and that’s already pretty bluesy. They were a pretty awful psychedelic band so it is better for us all that they went blues.

    On another note, an old man at a party once told me that the Stones were a really good band until 1964, before they went rubbish. Riiiiiiight….

  3. mrjohnnyandrews Post author

    For years, I’ve had a couple of favourite albums, but could never quite understand why everyone thought the sun shone out of their collective arses. I think they’re a pretty terrible band actually – but they have flashes of brilliance every now and then, and I think that makes them worth listening to. I’ve been listening to Black And Blue a lot recently and I’m loving that.

    That chap at the party sounds like a tool. They didn’t start writing original material until 1964 – so he’s basically saying he was a big fan of a covers band.

  4. Matthew Gibson

    It was a pretty old guy, friend of someone’s dad. I think he was a real obscurist – the Beatles had nothing on Jimmie and the Hairdoes or whatever. Not really a tool, he was a pretty nice guy.

    As for the Stones, you’ve got it spot on. Flashes of genius but a lot of rubbish. About the level of Queen I’d say – when they’re good, they are as good as anyone. And then there’s Goat’s Head Soup.

    1. mrjohnnyandrews Post author

      I quite like Goats Head Soup – there’s a lot of filler on it but I really like that electric piano that seems to be on every track. Heartbreaker is a real hidden gem of theirs.

      I’ve always rated Jimmie & The Hairdoes. Their classic ‘Curl Up And Dye, Francine’ is a lost classic from the early ’60s…


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