Rolling Stones songs: Now I’ve Got a Witness (Like Uncle Phil and Uncle Gene)
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
Written by: Nanker Phelge
Recorded: Regent Sounds and IBC Studios, London, England, Feb. 4 1964
Guest musicians: Phil Spector (guitar), Gene Pitney (piano)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
Uncle Phil is Phil Spector, a legendary producer who was friends with The Stones. Uncle Gene is Gene Pitney, a singer who wrote the Stones’ “That Girl Belongs To Yesterday.” They were frequent visitors at The Stones’ recording sessions.
This is an instrumental The Stones recorded at the same session where they covered “Can I Get A Witness.” Some of the keyboards were taken from that song.
This was credited to Nanker Phelge, a goofy name for a Jagger/Richards composition. “Nanker” was a wacky face they would make to amuse each other, “Phelge” was a roommate of Keith Richards whom he considered “The most disgusting person ever.”
Ian Stewart played organ on this. Sometimes considered “The Sixth Stone,” he also played on sessions for Led Zeppelin and formed his own outfit with Charlie Watts, Alexis Korner and Jack Bruce in the late ’70s and early ’80s called Rocket 88. After his death in 1985, The Stones played their only concert in a 7-year period at a London club in February 1986 as a tribute to Stewart.
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
Now I’ve Got a Witness” is a number conceived by the whole group,
hence the Nanker Phelge credit. The Rolling Stones also had the support of
various handpicked guests, however, hence the subtitle “Like Uncle Phil
and Uncle Gene”—more specifically, “Uncle” Phil Spector and “Uncle”
Gene Pitney, who attended some of the recording sessions for this debut
album. Ian Stewart also plays for the first time on the record. Credited on
the sleeve with guest status in exactly the same way as Spector and Pitney,
Stewart was nevertheless a full-fledged member of the Rolling Stones.
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