Hard to believe the logo that was designed back in 1971 by John Pasche would be one of the most enduring recognizable images of our time, certainly in rock and roll, The Rolling Stones tongue.
Pasche was a 24-year-old postgraduate design student at London’s Royal College of Art when Jagger went looking for new talent, having become dissatisfied with the record label’s artworks. After meeting the singer, Pasche designed a tour poster and was commissioned to come up with a band logo.
Pasche said: “Mick had a picture of Kali, the Hindu goddess, which he was very keen on. India was very much in fashion at the time, but I thought something like that might go out of date.”
The inspiration for the eventual logo, which took Pasche around two weeks of work, has never been in doubt.
“I wanted something anti-authority, but I suppose the mouth idea came from when I met Jagger for the first time at the Stones’ offices. I went into this sort of wood-panelled boardroom and there he was. Face to face with him, the first thing you were aware of was the size of his lips and his mouth.”
The logo first appeared on the inside sleeve of the 1971 album Sticky Fingers and has been used ever since, soon becoming a visual shorthand for the group as well as the stage design for gigs such as the Stones’ show at the Superbowl in 2006.
Initially paid just £50, when the Stones copyrighted the design Pasche received a share of royalties rights, later selling this for a lump sum.
Pasche, who also worked with the Who and Paul McCartney, said he never expected the image to be used for so long: “I’m still amazed by how popular it is. I get emails from people saying, ‘I’ve just had the logo tattooed on my arm.'”
Some examples of how the Stones new logo was merchandised and produced back in the early 70’s. It is still emblazoned on every t-shirt sold at every Stones concert worldwide today.