The Story Behind The Rolling Stones Iconic “Tongue” Logo

The Rolling Stones band logo – forever synonymous with the band – was designed by art student John Pasche in 1970, after the band became frustrated by designs provided by their label Decca.  Mick Jagger reportedly approached the Royal College of Art in 1969 looking to commission images for the band.  The original “Tongue and Lip Design” logo took two weeks of work and was commissioned for a mere £50.  Here is the first drawing by Pasche


The Rolling Stones were so pleased with the design they gave Pasche a bonus of £200.  The iconic logo first appeared on the album insert sleeve and on the actual record label of their 1971 album “Sticky Fingers“.

Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers Album Insert Tongue

Pasche ended up working for The Stones from 1970 to 1974 and also created art for the likes Paul McCartney, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Judas Priest and countless others.  When asked about his inspiration for The Stones logo, Pashe noted the obvious…

“I wanted something anti-authority, but I suppose the mouth idea came from when I met Mick Jagger for the first time at the Stones’ offices. I went into this sort of wood-panelled boardroom and there he was. Face to face with him, the first thing you were aware of was the size of his lips and his mouth”.


A London museum purchased the original Rolling Stones tongue-and-lips logo (pictured above) for $92,500.  Pasche had already decided to sell the drawing at a US auction house when the V&A enquired about borrowing it for an exhibition.  On learning the work was for sale, the museum lodged a winning bid, half of which was provided by the Art Fund charity.

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  1. blankend says:

    How did the rumor get started that Andy Warhol designed the logo?

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