A Wonderfully Relaxed Brief


 
 

Dear Andy,

I’m really pleased you can do the art-work for our new hits 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, e.g. more complex than just pages or fold-out, the more fucked-up the reproduction and agonising the delays. But, having said that, I leave it in your capable hands to do what ever you want………..and please write back saying how much money you would like.

Doubtless a Mr. Al Steckler will contact you in New York, with any further information. He will probably look nervous and say “Hurry up” but take little notice.

Love,
Mick

 
 

One is still the singer and creative powerhouse behind one of the most successful band on the globe; the other was the world’s greatest pop artist. Neither could be expected to receive unbidden instruction and so in his letter, dated 21 April 1969, Mick Jagger leaves the question of the band’s cover design in Andy Warhol‘s “capable hands.”

The conversational tone, trust in a fellow artist’s talents, and blasé attitude towards fees all mark Jagger out as a canny operator. In truth, some modesty was justified; Warhol had worked on numerous cover images for the likes of Blue Note Records while employed as a commercial artist, before going onto produce his more famous Peel Slowly and See cover image for The Velvet Underground‘s 1967 début.

What is perhaps more intriguing is that Warhol did not go onto design the band’s “new hits” album, as Mick suggests; the cover image for that LP, Through the Past, Darkly, released in September 1969, was a simple group shot, taken by Californian photographer Ethan Russell.

However, Warhol, did maintain his relationship with the band, and went onto design the image for their following studio album, 1971’s Sticky Fingers. This cover, of a well-endowed man’s crotch in tight jeans, featured a working zip and belt buckle in early pressings, and is now regarded as one of modern music’s more striking pieces of graphic art.

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