This song is representative of music industry insiders who work on the business end - the guys who have nothing creative to offer, but deem themselves important to the process. With convoluted titles and bad toupees, these guys fostered a stereotype that the Rolling Stones played up in this song, describing a guy who thinks he is far more important than he actually is.
The song was directly inspired by George Sherlock, who a United States promotions man at Decca Records. Sherlock was assigned to travel with the Stones when they were on the West Coast, and unhappy with the chaperone, wrote this scathing song about him. The Stones eventually warmed to Sherlock and didn't mind having him around.
In the US, this was released as the B-side of "Satisfaction."
This was the last song credited 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."
The Stones recorded this at Chess studios in Chicago, where many American Blues legends recorded.
A longer version with added lyrics at the end was on the early pressings of Out Of Our Heads and was included on the 1985 compilation Rolling Stones Singles Collection - The London Years.
Catherine Baffa from NyHe says cravat not Corvette
Robert from The Jersey Shore"Here comes the bus" cracks me up!
Richard from Somewhere West Of NeverThis one was one of my favorite "sleeper" songs. One of those things that you listened to exactly because it was a "B" side single. When you got your hands on the newest 45 rpm (single) You would listen to the "A" side and then flip it over just to see how "bad" the "B" side was–– well, after getting your mind blown by "Satisfaction" and then flipping it to hear "The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man", it was like – wait a minute! This is really good! It was so snarky you had to like it even when you discover the melody was really "Fanny Mae" with a Stones flair, and after all, the whole band had a hand in this (hence, "Nanker Phelge" pseudonym for all 5 members contribution). But in this Age of the Internet once an error is applied to "fact" it is hard to correct: in the song Mick sings that he's got "I got a Corvette and a seersucker suit". WRONG. He's actually saying "cravat" not Corvette. But until Mick comes out publicly as STATES this, it will remain incorrect forever…
Deepthinker From Maine from Saco, MaineHad this single back in the 60's. As I have been led to believe the Stones didn't think "Satisfaction" would be a hit. Oops!! Well, to me this record has always represented two sides of the same coin and I think the Stones meant it that way. On "Satisfaction" you find yourself getting nothing to make your day better. The old 'Life sucks and then you die' attitude. While on "Under Assistant" you find yourself being sooooo narcissistic you can't see the forest for the trees. I think these were released together on purpose. The Stones are a "Blues" based group and this combination fits right in with Robert Johnson's methods.
Cj from Midwest Once more, Brian not credited with coming up with Nanker Phelge or the Nanker face.
Ghostoflectricity from IllinoisBill from Erie: that is correct. "Nanker Phelge" was a collective pseudonym for the entire group for songwriting purposes, not just Jagger and Richards.
Alastair from Stranraer, United KingdomThe song is credited as a group composition. It has original lyrics but musically it closely follows the chord structure of Buster Brown's 'Fanny Mae'. A song that was part of their playlist - a Rolling Stones performance of 'Fanny Mae' for the BBC is in existence.
Bill from Erie, PaThe songfact about Nanker/Phelge is incorrect- songs written by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts were credited to Nanker/Phelge.
Elvis Presley's "A Little Less Conversation" was just a minor hit when it was released in 1968, but a 2002 remix made the song a global smash, taking it to #1 in a number of countries, including Australia and the UK.