Designer Shepard Fairey has updated the iconic Rolling Stones tongue logo in honor of the band’s 50th anniversary. The original logo was designed by John Pasche, a student of the Royal College of Art in London and appeared on the Sticky Fingers album sleeve in 1971. Pasche was commissioned in 1969 by lead singer of The Stones Mick Jagger, who disliked some draft designs which had been provided by the band’s record label, Decca Records. “The design concept for the tongue was to represent the band’s anti-authoritarian attitude, Mick’s mouth and the obvious sexual connotations,” Pasche later said (via Rolling Stone); “I designed it in such a way that it was easily reproduced and in a style I thought could stand the test of time.” Pasche was paid £50 for the original logo, and in 2008 Pasche sold the original artwork for the logo at auction to the V&A for $92,500.
Shephard Fairey’s reworking of the band’s classic image is subtle, and takes the Stones’ original tongue logo and adds a circular white and red banner with “The Rolling Stones Fifty Years” surrounding it. Fairey is a famed graffiti artist and designer who is behind the legendary Andre the Giant/Obey campaign as well as Obama’s “Hope” posters, who has become a go-to artist for rock musicians, with album covers for stars such as Tom Petty, Stone Temple Pilots, Smashing Pumpkins and a Led Zeppelin in his portfolio.
Born Frank Shepard Fairey in 1970, the American contemporary graphic artist has roots in the skateboarding scene. His work has became widely known from the 2008 U.S. presidential election for his Barack Obama “Hope” poster. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston has called him “one of today’s best known and most influential street artists”, and his work is included in collections at The Smithsonian, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
According to Fairey, the original Stones logo is the ‘essence of rebellion and sexuality that is the allure of all rock ‘n’ roll”, and he was overwhelmed by the idea of redesigning the logo when Mick Jagger reached out to him. (via designtaxi.com). When questioning Jagger if the ‘tongue’ should be kept in, the icon responded, “yeah I guess it ought to be”.
Fairey’s concept was to celebrate the legacy of the infamous band, and to integrate the ‘50’ in a ‘creative and memorable way’ (via designtaxi.com).
A new book will be released later this month to accompany a photo exhibition titled The Rolling Stones: 50, which opens at London’s Somerset House on July 13. The free photographic exhibition documents the last half-century of the band and their history, and will occupy the East Wing Galleries with over seventy prints ranging from reportage photography, live concert, studio session photos, contact sheets, negative strips and outtakes.