The legendary Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts passed away a few weeks ago, just when the band announced a new tour. The Stones decided to go without Watts at short notice because he had to undergo an operation. Sadly, the reunification did not happen anymore. At the same time, the public’s gaze should be directed towards a legendary album by the band, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary and will be re-released in 2021. “Tattoo You” was published in 1982 and suddenly carried the Rolling Stones under the spotlight of the 80s.
The record went straight to number 1 in American charts and stayed there for nine weeks. The singles “Start Me Up” and “Waiting on a Friend” became massive hits and classics in the band’s repertoire. The songs are still immensely popular today and the Rolling Stones still play them live today. The album sounded fresh, self-contained, and showed a highly motivated band. But what hardly anyone knows is that “Tattoo You” was just an outtake record.
Responsible for the success of the album were the outstanding songs and, of course, the cover, which was unusual for the time. However, the Rolling Stones were once again far ahead of their time. Just as the name suggest, numerous fans followed the call to get tattoos, which are among the most popular body decorations. While tattoos are socially accepted in many industries and societies today, they were still highly exotic in the 1980s.
The Band Logo Has Become a Tattoo Icon
The band’s iconic album cover was initially designed by an artist called John Pasche back in 1971, and today you can find it on countless body parts of the fans. Along with the album art, the logo with the name “Tongue and Lip Design” now exists in numerous forms and variations. The classic design is still the most popular, but the variation with the American or the British flag on the tongue is trendy as well. Fans also choose a frame with the Rolling Stones lettering, music notes, or instruments if they prefer something more unusual. There are, of course, no limits to the imagination as some fans supplement the logo with famous song titles such as “Wild Horses” or a line of text from some lyrics. Even portraits of the two bandleaders Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, are often ordered from a tattoo artist. It seems like it will never be enough for die-hard fans. They obeyed the call from 1981 and immortalized the Rolling Stones on their own body forever.
By the way, the original cover portrays the singer Mick Jagger with a face tattoo, which is surprising for many since Jagger is barely recognizable. On the back, Keith Richards is also decorated with a face tattoo. When the album was released, the unusual cover naturally caused a sensation. Face tattoos were highly uncommon at the time. But even this trend has long since established itself. Incidentally, the Rolling Stones’ reference to body art received many prizes for the grand design of the cover.