To mark The Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary a couple of years ago, the band asked artist Shepard Fairey to update their iconic tongue logo with a new design (pictured). The tongue was first used on the ‘Sticky Fingers’ album sleeve in 1971 and designed by John Pasche. It inspired us to look back at some other classic moments in music iconography.
Designed by Alan Forbes for The Offspring’s ‘Conspiracy Of One’ album in 2000, this skull logo, according to pictogram.blogspot.com, “points out that the cosmos of vengeance and lust for justice burning in one’s head can be – without the support and reinforcement of like-minded individuals – doomed to failure if it’s just one man tearing up the plans.”
Contrary to popular belief, this pop art-inspired logo has actually never appeared on an album by The Who. It was designed by Brian Pike in 1964 for a poster advertising the group’s gig at London’s Marquee club. It subsequently found its way onto thousands of badges, becoming a key element of mod iconography.
‘Led Zeppelin IV’ – the band’s untitled fourth album – was originally listed in Atlantic Records’ catalogue as ‘Four Symbols’, a reference to the sequence of four runes featured on the reverse of the album sleeve. This first one supposedly represents guitarist Jimmy Page, although some fans assumed it was a word, pronouncing it as “Zoso”.
This logo is always accompanied by the Finnish goth-rockers’ world-famous heartagram symbol. A combination of a heart and a pentagram, it has been described by frontman Ville Valo as a “Modern Yin Yang.” ‘Jackass’ star Bam Margera was so taken with the symbol he paid Valo for the right to use it on his own merchandise.
In addition to this cracked typeface, the hardcore pioneers also used a circular motif, which according to frontman Bob Mould symbolized the creative commonality between the band members despite their differing personalities. Mould explained: “The circle is the band, the three lines across are the members, and the intersection is the common train of thought.”
Magazines wishing to review Justice’s debut album were told they had to refer to it in print with a crucifix symbol (although Amazon stubbornly call it ‘Cross’) – leading to subbing quarrels across the land. The logo has since come into its own at Justice’s live shows, providing a glowing backdrop to the Parisian duo’s turntable heroics.
Credit: Joey Maloney/NME
With its simple black and white lettering recalling Ivor Arbiter’s famous Beatles design, Oasis’ trademark logo has appeared on all of the band’s album covers, apart from ‘Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants’ (where it was replaced by a transparent effort designed by guitarist Gem Archer) and forthcoming release ‘Dig Out Your Soul’
The Rolling Stones’ world-famous tongue logo, first used on their 1971 ‘Sticky Fingers’ album and recently purchased by the Victoria & Albert Museum for Â£50,000, was designed by art student John Pasche in 1970. Pasche was paid just Â£50 for the logo, and a further Â£200 in 1972. The logo was inspired not just by Mick Jagger’s famous mouth but also that of the Hindu goddess Kali.
Designed by Jamie Reid for the Sex Pistols single “God Save The Queen”, released in July 1977, and ultimately the “Never Mind the Bollocks” LP, the cut-out lettering meshed perfectly with the torn T-shirts and safety pins dreamt up by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood as a visual hook for punk rock.
Psychedelic group Phish have hidden a few things in their logo. Count the amount of gills the Phish fish has, and the air bubbles. Yep, 4/20 4/20. Hardly a coincidence.