The creator of the iconic Rolling Stones logo no longer collects royalties

It gave him shelter.

The creator of the Rolling Stones’ iconic tongue and lip logo used the money from his copyright sale to buy a house, he told The Post.

“That was enough for me to buy my own flat in London,” said graphic designer John Pasche. “So from that point of view, it was not negligible.”

He sold the logo copyright in 1982 for almost $28,000 – meaning he no longer collects royalties – due to strict laws in England that favored the organization an emblem belonged to rather than the art creator.

The 77-year-old’s logo, nicknamed Hot Lips, is considered the most famous in music history, but the artist behind him is exceptionally enlightened about it.

“Well, I don’t often say [people] … why should I? he said.

John Pasche was a 25-year-old art student when the Rolling Stones called on him to design a logo.
John Pasche was a 25-year-old art student when the Rolling Stones called on him to design a logo.

But more fans will take notice of his name now that he’s featured in the docuseries “My Life as a Rolling Stone,” premiering this Sunday on EPIX.

“I think a lot of people kind of found out about it, especially after that movie,” he added.

In 1970, the then 25-year-old Briton was completing his masters in design at the Royal College of Art in London when the group called the school asking for a student’s help. Little did he know at the time that the band hadn’t paid taxes in years and had no money in the bank.

Pasche's logo design is now considered one of the most iconic images in music.
Pasche’s logo design is now considered one of the most iconic images in music.
Images from PA Wire/Press
Pasche's first job for the band was their 1970 European tour poster, above.
Pasche’s first job for the band was their 1970 European tour poster, above.
John Pasche poses with his drawing in Paris in 2017.
John Pasche poses with his drawing in Paris in 2017.
Monceau/SIPA/Sipa USA

“I didn’t know the context of it all. They had a lot of tax issues with their old manager… He sold a lot of their music, so a lot of the 60s stuff doesn’t belong to them anymore,” he explained.

Pasche, who is still working on his craft from his home in the English countryside, began his work with the Stones by designing their 1970 European tour poster.

A few months later, Mick Jagger asks him to create their logo. The famous leader gave him a photo of a Hindi goddess with a sharp tongue as reference material.

Pasche is still an active artist.
Pasche is still an active artist.
The iconic logo stands above the stage at a band concert in 1975.
The iconic logo stands above the stage at a band concert in 1975.
Archive of Michael Ochs
Frontman Mick Jagger first gave Pasche the image of a Hindu goddess as inspiration.
Frontman Mick Jagger first gave Pasche the image of a Hindu goddess as inspiration.
Getty Images

“I suddenly focused on the language and thought it would be an interesting image for them given their background and how they were quite anti-authority and rebellious,” he said of of the work of art, which earned him 50 pounds.

He is used to dispelling the myth that the image he drew was the lead singer’s lush lips.

“He’s got a pretty remarkable mouth, he’s kind of an icon in himself,” he joked. “I understand why people make this connection.”

Mick Jagger, left, and Keith Richards in concert in 1973.
Mick Jagger, left, and Keith Richards in concert in 1973.
Getty Images
The logo is still a popular reference point for rock fans to this day.
The logo is still a popular reference point for rock fans to this day.
Reuters

Enthusiasts of British rockers also derive very personal satisfaction from the logo, Pasche has learned.

“A few years ago a Rolling Stones fan emailed me and it was a picture of his girlfriend’s butt with the logo tattooed on it,” he said. “It was a bit awkward.”

Leave a Comment