Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


Rolling Stones Tongue Logo and the Sweet Taste of Joy Coincidence or Conspiracy?

Now that I am reading Keef's autobiography, linked at right and recommended highly, I've been thinking more about the Rolling Stones than in years. In particular, I have been thinking about that tongue. You certainly know it, it ranks among the world's most familiar logos and the original drawing attributed to John Pasche, a British designer, was sold in 2008 for $92,500 to the V & A Museum. In the story on the sale, reported by "LogoDesignLove" HERE "The inspiration for the eventual logo, which took Pasche around two weeks of work, has never been in doubt" Pasche says "I wanted something anti-authority, but I suppose the mouth idea came from when I met Jagger for the first time...Face to face with him, the first thing you were aware of was the size of his lips and mouth." But is the origin of the logo really all that clear and simple?

For years stones fans have known the first use of the logo was in the 1971 Sticky Fingers Lp release, it was used on the inner sleeve. (That's the Warhol album with the zipper, and far more speculation went to whose crotch was depicted than who did the tongue inside. (It wasn't Jagger's...it was Warhol hanger-on (no, make that just "hanger") Joe Dellesandro, It was, and remains, one of the greatest rock albums ever recorded.

The Stones next release was the now reissued double LP Exile on Main Street which I wrote about earlier. It is outstanding, of course, but my attention was drawn to a similar tongue and mouth logo, one shown both in the photographs in the album and in presumably 1971 or 1972 Robert Frank shot footage of the Stones in LA. During the brief film, shown here, Jagger stops near a porno grind showing the film "Sweet Taste of Joy" with a remarkably similar design. The film is a zero-rated piece of soft-core corn.

But it got me thinking...just what was the date Jagger passed by that poster? Did he stop to look at it because it resembled their own logo so much? OR was the actual film shot BEFORE the stones had come up with their own version of the lip-smacking image? Since we are talking about a period of a year or so, determining which was first could get dicey. Certainly, even if the stones had already registered their use, seeing such a similar product must have puzzled Mick. Did the sleazy film producers rip-off HIS commissioned logo? Or did somehow the stones designer see the LA footage and use the background poster as an inspiration for HIS version?

As you can see in the great footage here, at the three minute (3:00) mark Mick is convinced to pose near the poster.

All these matters do converge in the Exile Album, which reproduces several strips of film showing the poster in the gatefold packaging. Was it a slap in the face? A bold challenge to see who had come up with the design first? Did the porno flick designers rip-off the stones? Vice- Versa? Neither? Did Mick sick his lawyers on the poster-maker? Did the poster-maker sick his lawyer on the Stones?

As I wade through Keith's very entertaining bio, should I find anything to add here, I certainly will. Coincidence? or CONSPIRACY?????





  1. That footage was shot after they recorded Exile in France, and went to finish it up in LA at Sunset Studios, I believe. But maybe I'm wrong.

  2. I THINK so too, but it such an odd set of circumstances. I'm still wondering why the film poster was included in the Exile package in such a prominent manner, and whether the Stones did anything to the "Sweet Taste of Joy" producers or their company for the crib (if that is in fact what happened.) It certainly wouldn't be the first time a porno producer has swiped the concept of a legitimate product! As the film Robert Frank did was held up in legal problems for decades before being seen, I also considered whether the presence of the poster might have had something to do with it, but then since it was reproduced at the time in Exile, probably not. Thanks Donna.

  3. "Sweet Taste of Joy" is a 1970 production.
    Draw your own conclusions

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