2120 South Michigan Avenue; A Rolling Stones’ One-Off

The Early Stones: It Was About Their R&B Sensibilities For Me

The Rolling Stones2120 South Michigan Avenue (composed by *Nanker Phelge) was an instrumental very near and dear to my British Invasion heart. I never bought into their “bad boy” image; I bought into their sincere love for American Blues and R&B. I also grew to love the product that resulted from that sincere imitation.

The Stones‘ performance on 2120 South Michigan Avenue begins with a classic Bill Wyman bass groove. In those days, we really couldn’t be sure if the dirt on the bass tone was “hot” distortion or an intentional effect; whatever, it was great! And of course, nobody could kick the tune off with a one shot pickup like Charlie Watts.

The rest was a loosey, goosey meandering that really goes nowhere except to one’s musical sentiment; in this case, back to 1964. If you try hard enough, you can envision all of the Stones (Brian Jones included) doing what they loved, in a very exciting time for commercial musical endeavour…

Personnel As Determined: Mick Jagger percussion; Keith Richards guitar; Brian Jones harmonica; Bill Wyman bass; Charlie Watts drums; Ian Stewart organ.

*From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Bill Wyman explained the origins of the name in his 2002 book, Rolling With The StonesWhen 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.

As far as the creative side of my musical persona is concerned, I am the sum total of what I have experienced musically. The emotion, the energy and the memories of music collected in my ear have shaped who I am as a composer, player and dreamer.


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