Jagger’s Letter to Warhol

For decades now, the identity of the model used for the album cover of the Rolling Stones 11th American studio album, Sticky Fingers, has been a mystery. The original vinyl cover album, released in April 1971, depicts a close up of a male crotch tightly fitted in blue jeans, complete with a working zipper – and a cheeky glimpse of underwear. At the time, many people believed that Mick Jagger was the model used, which he vehemently denied. Jagger commissioned the album cover from Warhol; writing him a casual, dryly funny letter with the parameters for the project. The letter has recently resurfaced in the Warhol Museum’s latest show, Letters to Warhol. 

Jagger's Letter to Warhol

Mick Jagger’s letter to Andy Warhol


Jagger deferred to Warhol creatively, letting him do what he wanted; his only advice was that complex designs could cause delays in releasing the record. Warhol, naturally, completely ignored his advice. The functional zippers on the albums caused production delays, and scratched the records they were stacked with.

Joe Dallesandro

The identity of the model, in the meantime, remains something of a mystery – but with a few possible culprits. The model could have been Andy’s longtime lover, Jed Johnson, or his brother Jay, but the most likely model is Superstar Joe Dallesandro.