Sticky Fingers

April 21st, 1969.

Dear Andy,

I'm really pleased you can do the artwork for our new album. Here are 2 boxes of material which you can use, and the record.

In my short sweet experience, the more complicated the format of the album, [the] more complex [it is] than just pages or a fold-out, the more fucked-up the reproduction and agonizing the delays. But, having said that, I leave it in your capable hands to do whatever you want. And please write back saying how much money you would like.

Mick Jagger

Of course, if you owned one of the original vinyl copies of Sticky Fingers, you know that Mick’s advice was completely ignored by Andy Warhol...who instead created an album cover that caused all manner of problems...

...including incorporating a functioning zipper on the cover which when zipped up caused damage to the record within during shipping.

How fitting for the Stones that the solution lay in zipping the zipper down so that consumers received the album with the jeans already open.

"Gimme Shelter"

"Merry, are you busy?" asked the voice on the other end of the line.

"No. I'm in bed," was her reply.

Session singer Merry Clayton was in her pajamas snuggled alongside her husband when her phone rang around midnight.

"Well, there are some guys in town from England," explained the voice on the phone, "and they need someone to sing with them. Could you come?"

It was some band she'd never heard of before. Her husband took the phone at that point and asked, "Man, what is going on? This time of night you're calling Merry to do a session? You know she's pregnant?"

As she started drifting off to sleep, she felt a nudge.

"Honey, you should really do this date."

And so Merry Clayton got up and went to that studio to sing for The Rolling Stones. Months

pregnant, still in her pajamas, her hair in curlers, she sang. And who can forget the way she sang, "Rape! Murder! It's just a shot away!"?

It was to become the most famous performance of her career. And one of the most tragic as well. Shortly after leaving the studio, Merry Clayton lost her baby in a miscarriage.

It makes me think of something Ursula K. Le Guin once wrote, “When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.”