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Music / Sticky Fingers

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The standard album cover of Sticky Fingers.
The alternate album cover of Sticky Fingers, used in Spain.

Sticky Fingers is the ninth studio album (eleventh American album) by The Rolling Stones, released in 1971. The album is notable for its cover, designed by painter Andy Warhol. Historically, its important for being the first release on Rolling Stone Records and Mick Taylor's first full-length appearance on a Rolling Stones album (and of course the first not to feature founding member Brian Jones at all). Hits and fan favourites include "Brown Sugar", "Wild Horses", "Can't You Hear Me Knocking", "Bitch", and "Sister Morphine".

It's widely considered to be one of the Stones' best, along with Aftermath from 1966, Beggars Banquet from 1968, Let It Bleed from 1969, Exile on Main St. from 1972 and Some Girls from 1978. It was listed at #64 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time, and Time magazine included it in their 2006 list of 100 timeless and essential albums.



Side One

  1. "Brown Sugar" (3:48)
  2. "Sway" (3:50)
  3. "Wild Horses" (5:42)
  4. "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" (7:14)
  5. "You Gotta Move" (2:32)

Side Two

  1. "Bitch" (3:38)
  2. "I Got the Blues" (3:54)
  3. "Sister Morphine" (5:31)
  4. "Dead Flowers" (4:03)
  5. "Moonlight Mile" (5:56)

Principal Members:


Can't You Hear Me Troping?:

  • Album Single: "Brown Sugar"/"Bitch" and "Wild Horses"/"Sway".
  • Alliterative Title: "Moonlight Mile".
  • Anti-Love Song: "Dead Flowers", about a girl named little Susie, whom the protagonist clearly despises:
    Take me down, little Susie, take me down
    I know you think you're the queen of the underground
    And you can send me dead flowers every morning
    Send me dead flowers by the mail
    Send me dead flowers to my wedding
    And I won't forget to put roses on your grave
  • Badass Boast: "Sway"
    It's just that demon life has got me in its sway
  • Black Gal on White Guy Drama: "Brown Sugar". It was written with Mick Jagger's secret girlfriend, Marsha Hunt in mind, who was also mother of his first child Karis. The song describes a black girl of slave origin who is described as "brown sugar, tasting good as a black girl should".
  • Blues: "You Gotta Move", a stylistically very faithful blues cover.
  • Break-Up Song: "I Got the Blues"
    Every night you've been away
    I've sat down and I have prayed
    That you're safe in the arms of a guy
    Who will bring you alive
    Won't drag you down with abuse
    In the silk sheet of time
  • Cover Version: "You Gotta Move", a negro spiritual.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The album cover.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The album cover was designed by Andy Warhol and the artists at the Factory. On the original LP (and some re-releases), a real life zipper could be pulled down.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Despite the Ode to Intoxication nature of the song, "Sister Morphine" also notes that the narrator will be dead in the morning.
  • Epic Rocking: "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" is over seven minutes, and "Moonlight Mile" very nearly qualifies at just a hair under six.
  • Grief Song: "You Gotta Move", which informs us that eventually everyone has to die at one point.
  • Intentionally Awkward Title: "Bitch"
  • Intercourse with You: "Bitch", "Brown Sugar", "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" are all lustful songs.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: "I Got the Blues" has elements of this.
    Every night you've been away
    I've sat down and I have prayed
    That you're safe in the arms of a guy
    Who will bring you alive
    Won't drag you down with abuse
  • John Barleycorn and Friends: "Sister Morphine", which is actually a song about lying in a hospital bed drugged up:
    Here I lie in my hospital bed
    Tell me, Sister Morphine, when are you coming round again?
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Brown Sugar", an upbeat song about slave rape on American cotton plantations.
  • Made a Slave: "Brown Sugar"
    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 whip the women just around midnight
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: A close-up of a pair of jeans around the crotch area.
  • Misogyny Song:
    • "Brown Sugar", about a black woman who apparently was of slave origin too.
    Brown sugar how come you taste so good, baby?
    Ah, brown sugar just like a young girl should, yeah
    I said yeah, yeah, yeah, woo
    How come come you taste so good?
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, woo
    Just like a...just like a black girl should
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, woo
    • "Bitch" is often thought to be one, also because it's about a woman, but its title actually comes from this line, making it much more of an Anti-Love Song:
    My heart is beating louder than a big bass drum, alright
    Yeah, you got to mix it child
    You got to fix it, but love, it's a bitch, alright
  • Obsession Song: "Can't You Hear Me Knocking?", where the protagonist is asking a woman whether she hears him knockin'?
    Can't you hear me knockin', yeah, throw me down the keys
    Alright now
    Hear me ringing big bell tolls
    Hear me singing soft and low
    I've been begging on my knees
    I've been kickin', help me please
    Hear me prowlin'
  • Ode to Intoxication:
    • "Moonlight Mile" references cocaine.
    With a head full of snow
    • "Dead Flowers" references heroin.
    Well, when you're sitting back in your rose pink Cadillac
    Making bets on Kentucky Derby Day
    Ah, I'll be in my basement room with a needle and a spoon
    • "Sister Morphine"
    Please, Sister Morphine, turn my nightmares into dreams
    Oh, can't you see I'm fading fast?
    And that this shot will be my last
    Sweet Cousin Cocaine, lay your cool cool hand on my head
    Ah, come on, Sister Morphine, you better make up my bed
    'Cause you know and I know in the morning I'll be dead
  • One-Woman Song: "Sister Morphine", "Bitch"
  • One-Word Title: "Bitch", "Sway".
  • Packaged as Other Medium: The cover looks like a pair of pants, complete with a real zipper on the original LP.
  • Product Placement: "Dead Flowers" mentions a rose pink Cadillac.
  • Refrain from Assuming: The album cover is not a close-up of Mick Jagger's crotch in tight jeans.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Bitch" has the line "I salivate like a Pavlov dog", which is a reference to the experiments of Ivan Pavlov who tested conditioned reflexes, by ringing a bell every time the dogs were fed. At a certain point, ringing the bell was enough to make the dogs salivate, even when there was no food given to them.
    • Gotlib once spoofed the album cover: [1]
    • Beth Hart's "Sister Heroine", about the sister she lost to a drug overdose, is likely a shout-out to "Sister Morphine".
  • Something Blues: "I Got The Blues".
  • Song Style Shift: "Can't You Hear Me Knocking".
  • Sticky Fingers: Implied in the title.
  • Stylistic Suck: The Stones evidently intended "Dead Flowers" to sound like a drunken singalong. Which it definitely does. Quite a contrast to the album's other country song, "Wild Horses", which is played completely sincerely.


Example of: