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The Evolution Of The Rolling Stones’ “Tongue And Lips” Logo

It’s the most famous band identity on the planet, and arguably the tongue and lips is now one of the most famous brands in the world.

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The Rolling Stones - Brown Sugar

When Jo Bergman from the Rolling Stones’ office in London wrote to John Pasche, a student at the Royal College of Art in London, in April confirming that he was to go ahead with designing “a logo or symbol which may be used on note paper, as a programme cover and as a cover for a press book’ no one involved could possibly have imagined the train of events that they were setting in motion.

John Pasche as the world knows came up with the famous ‘tongue and lips’ logo. Having said that the world knows it was Pasche, there are still some that trot out the idea that it was Andy Warhol, but this was confusing the famous artist’s role in creating the cover of Sticky Fingers the band’s 1971 album.

It was Mick Jagger’s idea to ask the Royal College of Art for possible candidates to do the design; it was one of the tutors at the Royal College that suggested 24 year old post graduate student Pasche.

According to Pasche, I went to his [Mick Jagger’s] house in Cheyne Walk and he presented me with this printed mage that he’d got from his local Indian corner shop of Kali, the Hindu Goddess of Time, Change, Power and Destruction. He’d got them to take it off the wall. I just immediately saw the mouth and tongue (The fact that Jagger’s physique was similar) was a lesser consideration. The starting point was Kali. For me, creating a symbol for them like that was really an anti-authority gesture.”

The first time people had a chance to see the ‘tongue and lips’ was on ‘Brown Sugar’ that came out as a single on 16 April 1971 (7 May in the US). But as you can see from the 45 centre (above) the tongue and lips were very much a secondary item compared to the ‘stamp’ for The Rolling Stones, which to begin with was the identity of the band’s record label. A few weeks later the insert for Sticky Fingers had the ‘tongue and lips’ more prominently displayed.

Close to half-a-century later the stones’ logo has become one of the most instantly recognizable and financially lucrative brand identities on the planet – practically on a par with Nike and Coca-Cola, who have both spent a good deal more money advertising their logos.

We take a look back at the how the logo has been used and developed in the last five decades, but we start with an advert from 1964 that appeared in the British music press, which may be ground zero for the famous logo…

The 1964 advert for Mick’s lips

1964 Mick lips
The inner sheet for Sticky Fingers


1971 Sticky fingers
The 1972 US tour poster, with subtle use of the tongue and lips
1972 Stones tour
A modified tongue and lips to advertise the release of Angie in 1973


1973 Angie poster

1973 Australian tour poster


1973 Australian poster
1978 sticker from Some Girls, subtly different from the 1971 inner bag; it also serves to highlight the one white strip vs two white stripe versions
1978 Some Girls sticker
1978 tour poster that again features a subtle tongue and lips

1978 tour
1981: Sucking In The Seventies album
1981 Sucking in the seventies
Two different 1981 tour posters

1981 Stones tour poster
1981 Tour
1990 Steel Wheels tour programme, a very different approach to the colour of the lips that would hereafter become used more often

1990 Steel Wheels
1994 Voodoo Lounge tour
1993 Voodoo Lounge
2002 Licks Tour poster
2002 Licks tourjpg
The Rolling Stones 50th anniversary book that used the logo in an innovative embossed way, with it being made up of small badges

2012 Book
A 2014 tour poster

2014 tour
The 2015 Zip Code tour

2015 Zip Code tour

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. bourgis serge

    April 16, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    je te tire la langue na!!!!!!

  2. James Eck

    April 16, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    the stones have given us a lifetime of good ole ROCK-N-ROLL, thanks boys.

  3. David

    April 17, 2015 at 12:01 am

    always a goood time call mick

  4. Judy

    April 17, 2015 at 1:01 am

    How can you not enjoy such a classic! I love your music Rolling Sones…… can’t wait to get together. I would love to introduce you at some disclosed show! Hint hint! Just sayin….

  5. Terry Jones

    April 17, 2015 at 1:17 am

    I learned to play guitar only because I wanted to play their songs. My youngest son’s name – Justin Keith Richards Jones. Yes, I am a fan.

  6. Flemming

    April 17, 2015 at 8:25 am

    I´m a Rolling Stones fan since the mid-60s. I have been at 12 concerts. The first on the 4th Oct. 1973 in Vejlby-Risskov, Denmark and the latest on the 10th June 2014 in Berlin. I also have my own private Rolling Stones website: http://www.freewebsite-service.com/rollingstones/forside.php Please feel free to pay it a visit.

  7. Diane Rainone

    April 17, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Can’t wait to see the Rolling Stones in Buffalo on July 11th…great way to celebrate my birthday!!!

  8. Elena Rogers

    April 17, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    LOVE the Stones, love the music, love the logo would love to introduce you guys anywhere. But you forgot your greatest admirer… Please come to Boston or Foxboro. I’m sure it was an oversight.

  9. Joe Schanne

    April 17, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Its great! That the Stones recognizes Buffalo NY as a true fan base! The fans here love there sports teams and has adopted The Rolling Stones as one of there own!!!!

  10. Elena Rogers

    April 17, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Love the Stones love the music love the logo. But you forgot your greatest fan. I’m sure it was an oversight. Please come to Boston or Foxboro MA guys. Please. Rock it out!!!

  11. Elena Rogers

    April 17, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Love the Stones love the music love the logo. But you forgot your greatest fan. I’m sure it was an oversight. Please come to Boston or Foxboro MA guys. Please. Rock it out!!!

  12. Michael Smith

    April 20, 2015 at 12:19 am

    So glad you’re coming back to Indianapolis. Got tickets a few days ago. See you there!!!

  13. Myles Omaha

    September 11, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    HILARIOUS! 1994 Voodoo Lounge tour listed as 1994 but shows the various tongues for that tour that simply says Rolling Stones 94/95

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