I'm sure that if, in 1970, anyone would have suggested to then British art student Bill Pasche that the Mick Jagger-inspired lips/tongue logo he was designing for the Rolling Stones to use on their Sticky Fingers album would nearly 40 years later be hanging on the wall of a museum, he probably would have said, "Sure--when pigs fly." And now that London's Victoria and Albert Museum has shelled out close to $100,000 to buy and display that artwork, I'm guessing Pink Floyd's flying pig balloon won't be far behind.
Rock logos, like rock groups, have certainly come and gone over the years. And before "branding" became such a fashionable word, numerous rock groups had distinctive logos simply to be, well, distinctive. Back in the mid-to-late 1960s, for example, Elektra Records art director William S. Harvey, fashioned logos for virtually every act on the label. Some, like the Doors, became as classic as the group itself. Others, like the early psychedelic band Clear Light, simply disappeared after one album into their own purple haze.
Of course, speaking of purple, there's his royal purpleness himself Prince, who's probably been the only artist to try and actually turn himself into a logo. At least he got an interesting-looking guitar out of it--which is more than you can say for Led Zeppelin, whose four-pronged "runes" concept ultimately went over like a lead, er, balloon.
1970s punk rock gave us some long-lasting logos, from the Ramones' All-American "Hey Ho Let's Go" eagle-with-baseball-bat (all the better to beat on the brat with) to the Misfits shockabilly-themed design.
Of course, as everyone from Abba to AC/DC, Kiss to Nine Inch Nails, and the Grateful Dead to Metallica can attest, probably the best way to have a memorable logo is to have a memorable career. Which reminds me that legend has it that it was Ivor Arbiter, who in 1963 sold Ringo Starr his Ludwig drum kit, who came up with a sketch of the Beatles logo for use on the front of Ringo's bass drum. Local Liverpool sign painter Eddie Stokes, who did work for Arbiter, then did the actual inking.
And just so we can connect the logo dots, remember that the Korn design that group member Jonathan Davis has on his back was put there by Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst back when he was a tattoo artist in Florida.
Rumors that Davis is in negotiations to exhibit himself at the Museum of Modern Art remain unconfirmed at this time.