The Rolling Stones’ famous hot lips logo is one of the world's most instantly recognisable symbols of rock and roll. It was created in 1970 by then art student John Pasche, who went on to become Art Director at United Artists (Music Division), Creative Director of Chrysalis Records Ltd and ultimately, Creative Director at the South Bank Centre.
Pasche was awarded a sought-after place at the Royal College of Art after graduating from Brighton, where he found himself working alongside George Hardy who was working on the album cover for Pink Floyd’s iconic Dark Side of the Moon. Pasche was then himself recommended by the College to attend a meeting with Mick Jagger to discuss a commission for a Stones’ 1970 tour poster.
After the two discovered that they shared an interest in 1930s and ‘40s posters, he came up with the idea of departing from the traditional image of the band and produced a retro travel poster with Concorde flying overhead. The design met with approval and as a result John was commissioned to create a logo.
In a second meeting at his Cheyne Walk home, Mick Jagger showed John a picture he liked of the Hindu goddess Kali. Kali is generally portrayed with a pointed red tongue which has had many interpretations over the years, from a weapon or a symbol of blood to a defiant gesture designed to tease, mock or provoke. John immediately began to envisage the concept that would translate into one of the most famous images in our cultural history.