What Musicians Can Learn From The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers

The Rolling Stones’ 1971 release Sticky Fingers sets the benchmark in classic rock albums. The album was recorded in both the United States and the United Kingdom, and both countries, influence can be heard all over the album. Whether it be the American blues and country western sound or British rock, the album’s different elements came together to form the perfect album.

Here’s what musicians can learn from Sticky Fingers on both the musical and marketing end.

1. Write great songs.

It sounds simple enough, but writing a handful of great songs is tough to do. The best albums provide a sense of unity and variety within the tracklisting.

The Stones are able to stand out by blending hard rock songs like “Brown Sugar” with “Wild Horses.’ Having a variety of impressive songs helps make an album with substance.

2. Have great packaging.

When an artist comes up with a fantastic selection of songs, it is important to find the right way to market the album.

In the case of The Stones, they chose the raunchy, yet iconic cover for what would become Sticky Fingers.

Having a cover that embodies the spirit of the album, as well as something that is eye-catching, is important for attracting the attention of potential listeners.

3. Leave space for improvisation.

One of the greatest tracks on Sticky Fingers is “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking.” It is a loose, fluid track where all the members improvised some of their pieces. The result is a great, long jam session that listeners get to sit in on.

When band members give each other more freedom, something unusual is likely to happen. That’s often a good thing when talented musicians are working together.

Whether it be giving other band members space or putting out a product that looks as great as it sounds, it is important to see what The Rolling Stones did right to cement their legacy as one of the greatest bands ever formed. Look no further than Sticky Fingers for the guide book on how to use a variety of songs to create a singular rock classic.

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Will Randick is a blogger and educator working out of the Bay Area.

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