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Nanker Phelge

Nanker Phelge (aka Nanker/Phelge) was a collective pseudonym used between 1963 and 1965 for several Rolling Stones group compositions. Stones bassist Bill Wyman explained the origins of the name in his 2002 book, Rolling with the Stones:

When the Stones cut "Stoned" – or "Stones", according to early misprinted pressings – as the B-side to "I Wanna Be Your Man", Brian [Jones] suggested crediting it to Nanker/Phelge. The entire band would share writing royalties. Phelge came from Edith Grove flatmate Jimmy Phelge, while a Nanker was a revolting face that band members, Brian in particular, would pull.

Thus anything credited to Nanker Phelge refers to a Mick Jagger/Brian Jones/Keith Richards/Charlie Watts/Bill Wyman collaborative composition. The ASCAP files for the very earliest Nanker Phelge compositions also list early Rolling Stones member Ian Stewart (also known as "the sixth Stone") as a co-author covered by the pseudonym.

The name resurfaced in the late 1960s on the labels of the original vinyl pressings of Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed. Manufacture of both albums was credited to Nanker Phelge, which was then acknowledged as an ABKCO company. (Apparently ABKCO was now manufacturing the records which were still bearing the London and Decca labels.)

Songs credited to Nanker Phelge

  • "Stoned" (Oct. 1963) (ASCAP also credits Ian Stewart as co-writer)
  • "Little by Little" (Feb. 1964) (credited as 'Phelge') (co-written with Phil Spector; ASCAP also credits Ian Stewart as co-writer)
  • "Andrew's Blues" (Feb. 1964) (unreleased)
  • "And Mr. Spector And Mr. Pitney Came Too" (Feb. 1964) (an instrumental blues-rock jam with prominent harmonica, unreleased, co-written with Phil Spector) Appears on the Black Box bootleg compilation.
  • "Now I've Got a Witness" (credited as 'Phelge') (Apr. 1964)
  • "Stewed and Keefed (Brian's Blues)" (Jun. 1964)
  • "2120 South Michigan Avenue" (Aug. 1964)
  • "Empty Heart" (Aug. 1964)
  • "Off The Hook" (Nov. 1964) (originally credited to "Nanker, Phelge", but now credited to Jagger/Richards by BMI)
  • "Play with Fire" (Feb. 1965)
  • "The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man" (May 1965)
  • "The Spider And The Fly" (July 1965) (originally credited to "Nanker, Phelge" but now credited to Jagger/Richards by BMI)
  • "I'm All Right" (July 1965) (sometimes credited to Phelge/McDaniel, although it is a Bo Diddley cover song. Now credited to Jagger/Richards)
  • "Godzi" (unreleased and unavailable on bootleg, although the song has been registered with BMI)
  • "We Want The Stones" (actually this is audience cheering on the 1965 Got Live If You Want It! E.P.)
  • Bill Wyman claims in his books that "Paint It, Black" was a collective effort of the group, and should have been credited Nanker Phelge, but mistakenly was credited to Jagger/Richards in the end.

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