What’s behind the Sticky Fingers zipper?
Everyone from my generation remembers the original Rolling Stones ‘Sticky Fingers’ album. The photograph is of a male in tight jeans with a working real zipper that you could unzip to reveal a mystery.
Meet designer, Junie Osaki. Junie lives in a charming, and oh-so-fascinating cottage in the LA area. It’s the kind of place you want to spend some time snooping because everything she has collected, and has hanging on her walls, has incredible music history attached to it. Her place really resonated with me because I remember being a 14 year old obsessed with ‘rock and roll’ and Rolling Stone Magazine. Junie shared with me the story of the Rolling Stones, Stickey Fingers record Album.
Junie is a graphic designer who worked in the music industry in its heyday. She is an award-winning designer for the work she did on Art Direction and Design for TARANTELLA By Chuck Mangione for A&M Records. I met Junie through our mutual friend, Ann, and had an opportunity to connect with her on my last trip to Los Angeles. I have never met anyone like Junie. She has so much energy and has an incredible memory that can recount every detail of an event that happened years ago. Junie’s involvement in the recording industry enriches her stories as well her personal spaces as you will see. Before we take a tour of Junie’s place I wanted to share a very interesting piece of history I learned from Junie.
Junie is a close friend of Craig Braun, the Art Director who was involved in the design of the iconic Rolling Stones ‘lips and tongue’ logo and the famous album cover art of Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers in 1971. Craig Braun, Inc, created and produced an exclusive line of jewelry, and promotional items, that he named “LICKS” based on the album’s logo and was the official licensee for Musidor, the licensing company for the Rolling Stones. To coincide with the record’s release, an entire package of “Lips & Tongue”-based merchandise hit the stores.
Junie told me the story of the design behind the Rolling stones Sticky Fingers album. This is my interpretation of her story. I hope I have it right!.
The album’s artwork shows a close-up of a jeans-clad male crotch. The cover of the original (vinyl) release featured a working zipper and mock belt buckle that opened to reveal cotton briefs. Behind the zipper, the white briefs were rubber-stamped in gold with the name of American pop artist Andy Warhol. Junie informed me that while Warhol conceived the artwork, the design and concept was by Craig Braun, an Art Director in the music industry. Craig also developed the concept behind Alice Cooper’s School’s Out album, and a number of other concept albums.
The crotch shot was not Mick Jagger, but an artist from Andy Warhol’s Factory. The album was the first time the Rolling Stone’s used their new “tongue & lips” logo. There is some controversy as to who actually designed the logo but according to Wikipedia the logo was originally designed by Ernie Cefalu and it was this version that was used for much of the merchandising, and the design that was originally shown to the band by Craig Braun. The design used for the album was a further refinement, and was done by John Pasche, who Craig Braun actually credits for designing the logo. Craig does not endorse the idea that Cefalu was the logo’s designer. What is interesting is the coming together of talents in the production of one rock n roll artifact. Like rock n roll itself, it is not a one person proposition, it takes a team. The same can be said for ‘design.’
Junie’s design sensibility goes further than the recording industry. Her cottage is charming and so full of iconic American rock and roll history. Have a look for yourself.
Limited edition print of ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ hand written out by Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul and Mary.
Limited edition print of ‘Our House’ hand written out by Graham Nash, of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
Junie’s cottage is an example of one of those hidden gems that are tucked in amongst conventional suburban landscapes all over North America, and especially in artistic communities like Los Angeles. I have learned that many of us have remarkable stories under seemingly conventional facades.