David Nobakht leafs through Hot Stuff, a guide to impossibly rare Rolling Stones memorabilia by superfan Matt Lee; and Unzipped, a guide to the various facets of Jagger and co’s working process, by the band themselves with editor Anthony DeCurtis.
Matt Lee’s Hot Stuff: The Story Of The Rolling Stones Through The Ultimate Memorabilia Collection is a book that will not just appeal to Stones fans, but also to anyone with a keen interest in graphic design history. A visual feast of posters, stage costumes, promotional items and mega-rare records, Lee’s collection of Rolling Stones memorabilia is so richly extensive, that the band themselves have ended up borrowing bits from it for exhibitions.
The Stones wanted to play live at both Cardiff Castle and Pembroke Castle on Sept 22, 1973. Souvenir posters printed for the day were eventually pulped after local authorities objected to the concerts taking place. Lee includes one of these sought-after posters in Hot Stuff alongside a Gimme Shelter film poster and the super rare Street Fighting Man 7” from 1968 whose sleeve photo depicting police brutality caused it to be withdrawn before release. Only 20 copies exist and Lee has acquired one, as well as one of 50 Goat’s Head Soup promotional jumpers. A brief history of each item and how they were acquired by the author is included; the aforementioned items are just the tip of the iceberg in Lee’s extensive collection, making Hot Stuff an intriguing visual treat.
Unzipped, meanwhile, coincides with the Stones exhibition of the same name that purports to “offer a complex thematic exploration of the creative life of a band.” Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and the late Charlie Watts – not to mention super collector Matt Lee – have all provided items for installation and book alike.
With journalist Anthony DeCurtis taking on the contributing editorial role, Unzipped features interviews with each Stone: examining the band’s creative thought process with chapters on recording, songwriting, art and design, style, film, instrumentation and live performance. So blues legend Buddy Guy is within these pages, telling the story of the first time he met the group; in turn, they elaborate on how blues music has and continues to influence them.
John Pasche, the graphic designer who designed the iconic Stones ‘lips’ logo explains how it was created, while Jagger talks us through the Robert Frank-designed artwork for the seminal Exile On Main Street LP, photographer David Bailey’s pics for Goat’s Head Soup and the problematic zip on Andy Warhol’s Sticky Fingers. Martin Scorsese appraises the Stones on film, and go-to fashion designer for renegade rock stars John Varvatos gives his thoughts on the group’s enduring relationship with fashion.
With the Stones also providing their thoughts, Unzipped is as much a treasure trove of info from the band and people they work with as it is a pleasing visual feast. Two mighty fine tomes, and ones which complement each other nicely.
Hot Stuff: The Story Of The Rolling Stones Through The Ultimate Memorabilia Collection is published by Welbeck. Price: £25. Info: here
The Rolling Stones: Unzipped is published by Thames & Hudson. Price: £35. Info: here
words DAVID NOBAKHT
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