Sticky Fingers

The Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones Records, 1971

REVIEW BY: Bill Ziemer


Sometime during the late 1960's, The Rolling Stones began calling themselves "The World's Greatest Rock Band." If not, they were at least "The Greatest Show on Earth." But alas, that phrase was already owned by the Ringling Brothers circus.

Greatest band or not, the Rolling Stones have certainly become one of the most influential and recognized bands ever. It would be an essay in itself to note the accomplishments this band has made in the rock arena. In brief, they probably are the greatest rock band ever. What other band has been releasing quality material (for the most part) for 30 years?

In 1971, the Stones released Sticky Fingers, the first album with Mick Taylor featured as a full time guitarist alongside Keith Richards. (Their previous effort, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Let it Bleed, still featured the deceased Brian Jones on most tracks.) It was also the first album released on Rolling Stones Records, which introduced Andy Warhol's tongue and lips logo. Rich with classics, Sticky Fingers is among the best of the Stones' albums (if not the best).

The #1 single "Brown Sugar" begins our journey into the album. On this track, Keith plays rhythm like only he can play. It's so incredibly catchy, its effect rivals that of a narcotic. You can't possibly hate this song. At the very least, it offers some redeeming factor to the few lost souls who can't stand the Stones. If you listen carefully, you'll actually hear Keith make a mistake during this track. What's amazing is that it actually makes the track better.

A little known fact is that Keith isn't playing the rhythm guitar on "Sway." The main rhythm is actually played by Mick Jagger, with Keith lending background vocals. Mick Taylor noodles around a bit before lending his efforts on the lead. The track ends with some orchestrated strings that give the entire song a grand feel.

"Can't You Hear Me Knocking" is classic Keith on rhythm again. What can you say about Mick's vocals here? They're always right on the money. Not necessarily predictable, but rough enough to be sincere, and thoughtful enough to be moving. The last portion of the song features a killer sax solo, and a Santana-esque jam session compliments of Mick Taylor.

The album's last rocker is "Bitch," featuring Mick Taylor on rhythm, with Keith chirping on the left side. Keith also adds the solo on this track, one of his finest recorded moments. The Wyman/Watts rhythm segment proves that they'll stand their own against any outfit.

Every track on Sticky Fingers is worthy of praise and mention, but if I did that, this would be an essay, not an album review. It's very rare when you can't say enough about an album. Each song on Sticky Fingers has a power of it's own. One thing is certain: 26 years after its release, Sticky Fingers hasn't aged much, and belongs in every collection. It's truly a classic among classics reviewed here.

Rating: A

User Rating: A-



© 1997 Bill Ziemer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Rolling Stones Records, and is used for informational purposes only.