On This Day in 1971: The Rolling Stones’ Classic Album ‘Sticky Fingers’ Reached No. 1 on the ‘Billboard’ 200

The Rolling Stones got their claws on the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 for a second time in their career when their classic album Sticky Fingers topped the chart on May 22, 1971. The legendary British rockers’ first Billboard 200 chart-topper was Out of Their Heads, which spent three weeks at No. 1 during the summer of 1965.

Videos by American Songwriter

Sticky Fingers knocked the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young live album 4 Way Street from the top of the tally. The Stones album enjoyed a four-week stay at No. 1 before being supplanted by Carole King’s landmark release, Tapestry.

[Buy Rolling Stones Concert Tickets]

Sticky Fingers was the first Stones studio album not to feature founding member Brian Jones, who died in July 1969 shortly after being fired from the group. It also was the band’s first studio effort to feature the full participation of guitarist Mick Taylor, who replaced Jones.

Sticky Fingers was packed with memorable songs, and included two hit singles, the chart-topping “Brown Sugar” and the enduring country-rock ballad “Wild Horses,” which reached No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Other standout tracks included “Sway,” “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” “Bitch,” “Dead Flowers,” and “Moonlight Mile.”

[RELATED: The Rolling Stones Celebrating Voodoo Lounge Album’s 30th Anniversary with Colored-Vinyl Reissue]

“Sway” and “Moonlight Mile” featured string arrangement by Paul Buckmaster, who also was working with Elton John around that time.

Eight of the 10 tracks were co-written solely by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, while Jagger’s ex-girlfriend, actress/singer Marianne Faithfull, also was credited with co-writing “Sister Morphine.” The band also included a cover of the traditional blues tune “You Gotta Move.”

Guest Musicians

Sticky Fingers featured a number of guest contributors. Nicky Hopkins played piano on “Sway.” Ry Cooer and Jack Nitzsche playing slide guitar and piano, respectively, on “Sister Morphine.” Billy Preston played keyboards on “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” and “I Got the Blues.” Bobby Keys delivered memorable sax parts to four tunes, including “Brown Sugar” and “Bitch.”

About the Album’s Cover

The album’s cover was famously conceived by Andy Warhol and designed by his team. It featured a photo of a blue-jeans-clad man’s crotch. The original packing incorporated an actual zipper, and a perforated area that could be pulled back to reveal the man’s underwear.

Sticky Fingers’ Sales Certification and Honors

Sticky Fingers went on the be certified three-times platinum by the RIAA for sales of more than 3 million copies in the U.S. In 1999, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. It was ranked No. 104 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 2020 list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”

The Album Began a Series of Chart Achievements for the Band

Sticky Fingers began a run of eight consecutive No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 for The Rolling Stones. It was followed by Exile on Main St. (1972), Goats Head Soup (1973), It’s Only Rock ’n Roll (1974), Black and Blue (1976), Some Girls (1978), Emotional Rescue (1980), and Tattoo You (1981).

Sticky Fingers Track List:

Side One

  1. “Brown Sugar”
  2. “Sway”
  3. “Wild Horses”
  4. “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”
  5. “You Gotta Move”

Side Two

  1. “Bitch”
  2. “I Got the Blues”
  3. “Sister Morphine”
  4. “Dead Flowers”
  5. “Moonlight Mile”

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Leave a Reply

49 Winchester press photo

49 Winchester Team with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra for New Single “Fast Asleep”

The Story and Meaning Behind “Chest Fever,” The Band’s Most Rollicking, Mysterious Track