True Stories Behind The Making Of 'Sticky Fingers' By The Rolling Stones

By Sarah Norman | May 27, 2024

Do or Die

Step back into the early '70s, a time when rock 'n' roll was raw, rebellious, and dripping with attitude. Amidst this electrifying era, the Rolling Stones were crafting what would become one of their most iconic albums: Sticky Fingers. This article delves into the behind-the-scenes magic of its creation, revealing the gritty, glamorous, and sometimes chaotic process that birthed classics like "Brown Sugar" and "Wild Horses." From the innovative, and provocative cover design by Andy Warhol to the band's experiments with new sounds and deeper, more personal lyrics, Sticky Fingers encapsulates a pivotal moment in music history. Join us as we explore the stories, struggles, and triumphs that shaped this legendary album, offering a glimpse into the heart and soul of the Rolling Stones during one of their most creative periods.

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Mick Jagger & Keith Richards performing live onstage on March 9, 1971 (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)

Sticky Fingers had to be a defining album for the Rolling Stones. Going into the 1970s broke, down an original member, and with the travesty of the Altamont festival behind them, the group had to prove that they were worth listening to. With their backs against the wall the Stones put out one of the best rock ’n roll albums ever made.

The first Stones album of the ‘70s doesn’t have the rambling excess of Exile on Main Street, instead it features some of the sharpest writing of the Keith Richards and Mick Jagger’s catalogue propelled by the group’s need to leave everything on the table. It’s a focused and daring album and it almost didn’t happen.

Rolling Stones Records was created to get the band out of debt

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source: wikipedia

By the end of the ‘60s the Rolling Stones had accrued a fortune that was estimated to be worth around £100,000,000 but they never saw a farthing of that princely sum. After ending their relationship with their label ABKCO Jagger turned to Prince Rupert Loewenstein, a Bavarian aristocrat and merchant banker who took on the role as the group’s financial manager. Loewenstein realized that the band was owed the UK government millions in back taxes and that they needed to make a lot of money if they were going to be solvent again. Jagger later said:

I just didn’t think about taxes and no manager I ever had thought about it, even though they said they were going to make sure my taxes were paid. So after working for seven years I discovered nothing had been paid and I owed a fortune.

To fill their coffers and get out of debt the band did what they do best - play live. By all accounts the group was burnt after the ‘60s but they had to go on the road to make some much needed cash. To make sure that they held onto their money this time around the group decided to found their own label, Rolling Stones Records, and they licensed their recordings through Atlantic Records. Marshall Chess from Chess records was hired to run the business side of things and the band prepared to enter the next stage of the Rolling Stones.