With the upcoming re-release of the Rolling Stones‘ Sticky Fingers album, I felt ESD needed to say something. Because the Sticky Fingers album cover, today as much as back in the day, certainly says something about a man in denim.
On June 8/9, the band will re-release the classic 1971 album along with previously unreleased material and alternative takes of album tracks including ‘Brown Sugar, Wild Horses’and Sister Morphine. And the band is back on tour, proving that hard livin’ is actually the key to longevity.
To celebrate the Stones and men in denim on album covers, witness my collection of favorites below. I hope you enjoy.
The Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers
The cover of the original vinyl release featured a working zipper and mock belt buckle that opened to reveal cotton briefs. The buckle was modified eventually because it was damaging the records. The model is sometimes assumed to be Mick Jagger, but it likely was an Andy Warhol (who conceived the cover) groupie. In 2003, VH1 named it the best album cover of all time.
Bruce Springsteen, Born in the USA
It was the album cover that launched The Boss into pop stardom. There was no questioning whose butt appeared in Annie Leibowitz’ photo, and America was smitten (even though the songs weren’t exactly flattering to the U.S.A.). It didn’t hurt that the album was a masterpiece.
Neil Diamond, Hot August Night
I mean, whoa. Neil Diamond may be synonymous with “adult contemporary music,” but look at this. He’s smokin’ in this denim ensemble. Fun fact: Hot August Night is a double album recorded live during a series of 10 sold-out concerts at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles in 1972. The album features the August 24 show, and the title is from from the opening line of the song “Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show.”
The Ramones released their self-titled first album in April 1976. Roberta Bayley, a photographer for Punk magazine, shot the iconic cover. The magazine ran a cover story about the band in the same year as the album’s release. Over the next 22 years, the band performed 2,263 concerts. That’s pretty much nonstop touring—and pretty punk rock. Has anyone ever looked cooler in jeans in the history of denim?
Bob Dylan, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan
I may be biased when it comes to this one, because Bob Dylan is my all-time favorite musician in the whole world. But even an objective observer has to admit this is a cool album cover. Combined with some of the best songs ever written, including Blowin’ in the Wind, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall and Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright, plus with some stylish high-waisted jeans, it’s a legendary piece of history.
The Beatles, Abbey Road
The image was photographed on August 8, 1969, outside EMI Studios in London by Iain Macmillan, who had just 10 minutes to capture the image while standing on a step-ladder and a police officer stopped traffic. “Paul is dead” conspiracy theorists used the photo as evidence that Paul McCartney was dead. John Lennon, in white, was said to represent a clergyman or heavenly figure. Ringo, in black, was the undertaker and George Harrison, in all-denim, was the gravedigger, making Paul McCartney the dead one. False, of course, but how much do we love John’s double denim?
Johnny Cash, Johnny Cash Is Coming to Town/ Boom Chicka Boom
And with this outfit + this album title, Johnny Cash wins denim. It’s perfectly fine that he appears to be wearing corduroy pants rather than jeans, because one can only assume his denim duster with caramel-hued leather accents is amazing. Johnny also appears to be wearing some sort of double breasted denim shirt underneath the jacket. Chicka boom indeed.