rolling stones stoned 1963Can You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: Stoned

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Stoned/ Out of my mind/ Here I go/ Aah, yeah…

Written by: Nanker/Phelge
Recorded: De Lane Lea Studios, Kingsway, London, Oct. 7 1963
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From Songfacts:
This was the first original song The Stones recorded. They stuck to covers of blues songs until then.

The Stones released this as the B-side of “I Wanna Be Your Man.”

An obvious title for The Rolling Stones, “Stoned” is far from their signature song. There are very few lyrics on the track, which is indeed about being stoned.

The music is based on the instrumental song “Green Onions” by Booker T. & the MG’s.

The songwriting credit on this went to Nanker Phelge, a goofy name for a Mick Jagger/Keith 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.”

From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs, The Story Behind Every Track book:
“Stoned” occupies a special place in the career of the Rolling Stones, which was still in its infancy. It is neither a cover nor, properly speaking, an original composition, but more of an improvisation on “Green Onions” by Booker T. & The M.G.’s, “an inversion,” as Bill Wyman puts it, which reached number 3 on the Billboard pop chart in September 1962. The track is credited to Nanker Phelge, a pseudonym used for those songs “written” or developed collaboratively by the various members of the group between 1963 and 1965. Nanker was the name of one of Brian Jones and Keith Richards’s favorite “funny faces” (fingers in the nostrils, drooping eyelids…), while Phelge refers to their roommate at Edith Grove, James Phelge.

James describes his surprise when he saw his name on the Stones’ second single: “I took my eyes from the record and saw the three of them standing there watching me intently, their faces lit with broad smiles.… ‘I hope you don’t mind us using your name?’ Brian asked. ‘We wanted to put it on the records.’ ‘No, that’s great,’ I said and read the label one more time. ‘What is Stoned anyway?’ ‘Just something we made up in the studio,’ said Keith, ‘an instrumental.’” The recording of “Stoned” would provide an opportunity for the revelation of another facet of Eric Easton’s character.

With the session barely over, Oldham flew off in haste to Paris in order to deal with the early symptoms of manic depression that were beginning to affect him, a condition he would struggle with for the next thirty years of his life. In his absence, Easton, his associate, took it upon himself to explain to the Stones that their number was an original composition and that it was time to find a publisher in order to collect the future royalties. He told them about Southern Music, a company he recommended wholeheartedly, neglecting to inform them that he was co-publisher with that enterprise, specifically through South-Eastern Music.

Upon Oldham’s return from Paris, he neglected to notify the manager of this “minor” detail. It was only at the beginning of 1964, after attempts were made to find the Stones a publisher for other songs that the deception came to light. From that point on, relations became more and more strained until they reached the breaking point in 1965, when Easton would be replaced by a certain Allen Klein…

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