The Rolling Stones have revealed a special 50th anniversary version of the famous lips that first appeared on the inner sleeve of the 1971 Stones album Sticky Fingers. However who actually designed the famous logo.
Depending on what you read the famous Rolling Stones lips logo was originally designed by Ernie Cefalu or John Pasche. John Pasche was credited with the design that has been used commercially since 1971 although on further digging it appears that Ernie Cefalu has something to say about the true origin of the concept. According to an interview with Ernie Cefalu at rockpopgallery.com it is Ernie Cefalu that designed the original logo. So the story goes, Cefalu was invited to attend a meeting with Craig Baum, ( Concept Packaging king-pin) Lou Morris, his head of production, Mark Finklestein, an account executive, and his Vice President of sales, Tony Grabois. Cefalu had just designed the album cover for 1970's Jesus Christ Superstar and Baum was interested in his portfolio as he was in urgent need of an Art Director for Concept Packaging. Whilst in the meeting Baum pondered over another album cover design of Cefalu's, “Dolls Alive” which contained a mouth with a tongue hanging out of it. Cefalu states;
"After staring at it for at least a full minute, he (Craig Baum) came back into the presentation and said “ we’ve been working on developing a logo for the Rolling Stones, and haven’t hit on it yet, and with Walter gone, quite honestly, we've been in a bit of a bind… until now!” He looked at me and asked” can you go upstairs to the art department and take the lips that you did on this label, add a tongue outside and over the bottom lip like this, and finish it in less than an hour?" I said that I could and then he said “good, then I will keep my meeting with the Stones manager Marshall Chess at the Factory around 5:00pm today.”
Once upstairs in the art department Cefalu claims that it took him forty minutes to do a felt marker sketch complete with lips and a tongue, even adding some teeth because he thought it didn’t look right without them. After showing the result to Baum, Celafu waited until later that evening for Baum to congratulate him on a new job with Concept Packaging and designing The Rolling Stones logo. In Cefalu words Baums commentary went like this, "well, my good man, you have earned a job with us. And, by the way, you just designed the new logo for the Rolling Stones!"
It was agreed that Cefalu's very first assignment was to do a finished ink rendering of the lips and tongue he had sketched. As it turned out, Baum had given the logo to Marshall Chess( Stones Manager) and the Stones for free. In return, he got the exclusive merchandising rights of the logo for one year. Over the next few months Cefalu worked on Rolling Stone merchandising: shirts, sweat shirts, scarves, hats, foil dye cut posters, belt buckles, embroidered patches, key chains and roach clips that were sold by Concept Packaging through ads, via direct mail and on the Stones tour.
Here is what Cefalu had to say about the final logo that appeared on Sticky Fingers;
For the record, I really didn't know that there was going to be a Lips and Tongue logo on the final album sleeve ," adding " As for why they had a second version done for the final album art, it is a mystery to me. The logo that I did the finish on and that was used on all the merchandising was done by me well before the end of February of 1971. That one was finished black line art and I used matched PMS185 Red and White call outs on it. The logo that John Pasche did that was used on the Sticky Fingers album sleeve and back cover - when you look at the two logos side by side, you will clearly see that they are really different."
Other publications tell a completely different story with no mention of Cefalu, RollingStone.com reported yesterday that "The tongue was first used on the Sticky Fingers album sleeve in 1971 and designed by John Pasche, a student the Royal College of Art in London. Pasche was commissioned in 1969 by Jagger, who was unhappy with the designs provided by the Stones label, Decca Records. "The design concept for the tongue was to represent the band's anti-authoritarian attitude, Mick's mouth and the obvious sexual connotations," Pasche later said. "I designed it in such a way that it was easily reproduced and in a style I thought could stand the test of time."
It's up to you to make your mind up as to who should have credit for the logo design, however, clearly Cefalu has received a rough deal. The accompanying picture to this article shows a comparison between the two designs.
Just so you know, things worked out well for Cefalu, he has received three Grammy nominations and ten Music Hall of Fame Awards for his album cover work, as well as four Awards of Excellence from Art Directors Clubs. He has been presented with 15 gold albums and a triple platinum album by the bands whose album covers he designed and has 212 album covers to his credit. You can read the full article from Ernie Cefalu's perspective here; http://rockpopgallery.typepad.com/rockpop_gallery_news/2009/07/uncovered-interview-part-2-rolling-stones-lips-logo-by-ernie-cefalu.html