Exile on Madison Ave.

Mick Jagger

Rediscovered this gem recently.

Mick Jagger briefing Andy Warhol on the sleeve design for a new Stones hits album in a bullshit-free missive of brazen honesty is not only a gas, gas, gas – it also affords a plethora of readings as a best-case scenario for agency life.

My preferred interpretation puts Jagger firmly in the Creative Director’s chair.

Chiefly because it reminds me of the two key roles that a good CD must play.

First and foremost, he must be the catalyst-in-chief, challenging his charges and creating an environment where they feel free to be as creative as possible.

And two, once said work has been created, seamlessly becoming its principal champion, advocate and salesperson to the client.

Mick’s ballsy, fuck-it attitude is what gives the pieces its swaggering charm. 

(When you’re the pre-eminent rock star of your time, it’s easy to do that.)

For today’s CD, rock star or otherwise, it take a little more: passion, nuance, tact and no small amount of courage.

It’s why I love the letter and take the necessary from it: be fearless in your approach to both the work and the business of selling it.

The hits album never materialized but later that year Warhol would go on to create the artwork for Sticky Fingers – one of the seminal sleeves of the time.

He did indeed just “do what ever you want.”

And, yes, it involved all manner of fucked up production process delays.

But the client bought it and if you were to gather together a book of the coolest sleeves of the last fifty years, Sticky Fingers would undoubtedly be in it.

I wonder how Andy answered the query “and please write back saying how much money you would like.”

Ah, those were the days.

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