A Look Into the Dynamic History of The Rolling Stones Logo

Who designed the tongue and lips logo?

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You know when you see it—it's one of the most iconic logos of all time in any area of entertainment. Red lips, tongue out. Ever-so-slightly sexual but not to the point of vulgarity. Slightly radical, but not too radical, and 100% representative of who The Rolling Stones are then, now, and forever. Similar to what we did a few weeks ago with The Beatles and in continuation with our deep dives into the legendary logos of legendary bands, we're taking a look at the dynamic history of The Rolling Stones logo, and how it came to be in the first place. The neat thing about these stories is that there's almost always an unexpected backstory behind the logos that occurred in the early stages of the band's development, so not only do you get to find out exactly how their respective logos came to fruition, but you also get to learn more about their early makings as a whole.

Buckle up and enjoy the ride, and while we have your attention who should we do next? Metallica? Guns N' Roses? Led Zeppelin? A band we haven't covered at all yet? We shall see!

Related: All of Bon Jovi's Albums, Ranked

How Did The Rolling Stones Come to Be?

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The origin story of The Rolling Stones dates all the way back to 1950 when Mick Jagger and Keith Richards became grade school friends. Jagger being the born rocker he's always been, was the first to form a garage band with his buddy Rick Taylor (who was an early member of The Stones) called the Blues Boys. While the Blues Boys played a little bit of everything genre wise, their core was R&B. This is something that's important to remember because there's been elements of The Rolling Stones work (in particular their 1970s material) that has had very much had an R&B sound present—Rhythm & Blues is Jagger's Core.

As we always say, the early years of a band is filled with shuffling—shuffling members, shuffling different sounds, shuffling managers, labels, band names and the whole shebang. All of this is a core part in a band's development, and while it might have been a frustrating component for these bands while it was actually happening, when you look back you can see how the pieces aligned perfectly for them to become who they were. The Stones were no different. There was some shifting and shuffling going on for a while, but eventually they settled with Jagger, Richards, Brian Jones, Ian Stewart (who was only a part of the band for a little but remained a key member of the team), Mick Taylor, and Tony Chapman.

Now feels like a good time to talk about the logo don't you think?

When did The Rolling Stones get their logo?

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Ironically enough, the actual creation of The Rolling Stones logo didn't actually happen until 1970. By this point, The Stones were globally famous musicians who had already experienced loads of success with songs like "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," "Paint It Black," "Mother's Little Helper," and the likes. That means during that whole era of their success, the group had no logo. Thankfully a man by the name of John Pasche would change all that.

Who designed the Rolling Stones logo?

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According to an article by UK website Creative Review, RCA student John Pasche was originally commissioned by Rick Jagger himself to design a poster for an upcoming promotional tour for the group after meeting with Jagger. Pasche did a great job on poster, so several months later when The Rolling Stones needed a logo to represent them as they were starting a record label guess who they called? If you guessed Pasche, you guessed correctly.

A 2020 article from The New York Times went into a little more detail. Pasche told The Times: "he (Jagger) wanted an image that could work on its own … like the Shell Petroleum logo. He wanted that kind of simplicity.” It was during that same meeting where Jagger showed Pasche an illustration of the Hindu deity Kali, which he borrowed from a local shop, and the rest was history as Pasche was inspired by the lips and tongue of the illustration. Pasche's version of The Rolling Stones logo was done in black and white.

Future Iterations of the Logo

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Ever the perfectionist, Jagger next took the concept to a designer named Craig Braun, who used a concept by Andy Warhol and photographs by Billy Name to add some more detail. According to Gold Radio UK, Braun and his in-house studio designers worked on it, adding a black void for the throat, white accents, and narrowing the tongue just a little bit more. Pasche was okay with the extra details, and before you knew it the logo was everywhere. Pasche's original contract with the band had him slated to receive 10 percent of net income sales, but in the early 1980s, roughly a decade or so after the completion of the Logo, Pasche sold the rights to The Stones for £26,000.

And there you have it. The Rolling Stones logo was originally created by somebody who was...a college student, and that design and its respective modifications has since led it to being one of the greatest entertainment logos of all time.

RELATED: What Are the Best Rolling Stones Albums? Ranking All 25

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