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“Sticky Fingers”
Leave it to Andy Warhol to blatantly put the cock into rock by designing the provocative Grammy-nominated cover to this Rolling Stones album. Capturing the sizable male ego and sexual effrontery of music played by men stroking their phallic guitars and seducing the masses with primal rhythms, lewd lyrics, and vulgar body language, Andy used the front of a pair of tight jeans on a gentleman whose bulge is undeniably well-defined. (Look, ma, he dresses to the right--just like David Cassidy!)

The piéce de resistance was the inclusion of a working zipper on the album cover, taking you to the inner sleeve where the guy can be found in his jockey shorts. (One of my pre-adolescent homoerotic memories involves standing in the record section of my small town department store, my heart beating the requisite mile a minute, as I feverishly scanned my surroundings and anxiously waited for just the right opportunity to unzip those pants and see what was inside without getting caught.)

There has been plenty of debate about the identity of the crotches in question. The only thing anyone can agree on is that the man on the inside sleeve is not the same as the man on the front and rear cover. The best evidence is that Glenn O'Brien is the jockey shorts model. The guy on the outside has been guessed at variously, but has often been rumored to be Joe.

Joe says it is him. “It was just out of a collection of junk photos that Andy pulled from,” he tells me. “He didn't pull it out for the design or anything, it was just the first one he got that he felt was the right shape to fit what he wanted to use for the fly. It had nothing to do with anything else. There was no photograph session set up where they were taking shots of crotch areas."

The debate rages on because Joe can’t prove that he’s the guy and not everybody believes him. In the book The Warhol Look, the album cover appears on the same page as photos of Joe. “See,” Joe says, “even they’re getting closer to finally acknowledging it.”

    “Walk on the Wild Side”
Lou Reed's sardonic and surprise hit off the David Bowie-produced Transformer album (recorded in Berlin) became his biggest solo single, breaking into the Top 40 in March of 1973 and staying there for two months. Originally conceived as a song about places (The Empire State Building, among them), it became a song about people, though just what his take was on these New York characters--Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling, The Sugar Plum Fairy, Little Joe--has been debated amongst all those involved. If nothing else, the hypnotic little ditty with the funereal tone made superstars Superstars again and memorably introduced them to the rest of America, who probably didn't know that Reed was singing about people he really knew. With its drug, transvestite, and sexual references buried in the melodic drone, it managed to become a hit even while being banned in parts of the US and UK, where some stations edited it ‘til there was nothing left but the “doo-doo-doo-doo's.”
    “Je T’Aime Moi Non Plus”
Motion Picture Soundtrack, 1975
Joe’s favorite of his own feature films was inspired by Serge Gainsbourg’s breathy international hit song of the same title off his infamous Comic Strip album. The album is replete with weird combinations of jazz and folk influences mixed in a blender, but the four minute Je T’Aime, co-recorded with wife Jane Birkin, is a sensational repartee of pre- to post-orgasmic moans, grunts, sighs and pants that give intimacy a whole new aural dimension. Both Joe and Jane appear on the cover of the motion picture soundtrack album.
    “The Smiths”
February, 1984
This cover of a Smiths’ early self-titled album was cropped to prominently feature Joe's torso. The original still from Flesh is seen below. Morrissey (the singer, not Paul) and his boys went on to feature several pretty-boy celebs on their album covers, including Jean Marais, James Dean, Alain Delon, Elvis Presley, Candy Darling, Richard Davalos (Jimmy Dean's on-screen brother in East of Eden), and Terence Stamp. Stamp objected to the use of his photo--in a still from The Collector (1965)--and so Morrissey posed for a similar likeness and that's the sleeve available in the United States. Stamp eventually came to terms with the group and the photo was restored on copies in Great Britain. Plates of all the album covers can be found in Jo Slee's book Peepholism: Into the Art of Morrissey.
    Anthony Kiedis
The Red Hot Chili Peppers

When Paul Morrissey shot an in-magazine “film” for Details several years back, the editors called Kiedis “our Joe Dallesandro.” Throughout the 1980s, Kiedis’ name was offered up by fans whenever rumors flew of a Factory biopic and the question of who should play Joe was raised. Though he’s undeniably sexy, Anthony is also naturally rubber-faced (Joe, you might guess, is not) and has far too many tattoos to camouflage. Besides that, he’s got a lisp and one has to wonder how well he could adopt the New Yawk accent. I think fans more often than not thought of Kiedis to play Joe because of his image rather than his suitability: his long hair, his gay-friendly attitudes, and his notoriety for public displays of nudity. The Chili Peppers made a name for themselves early on by courting the gay press and appearing in concert naked, save for strategically-placed tubesocks. Joe and Anthony do know each other, by the way. They met in the late ‘80s and Anthony counts himself among Joe’s fans.
©2005, Michael Ferguson