Bill Wyman

Bill Wyman

Infobox musical artist
Name = Bill Wyman

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Background = non_vocal_instrumentalist
Birth_name =
Alias =
Born = birth date and age|1936|10|24|df=yes
Lewisham, London, England
Died =
Instrument = Bass, Piano, vocals, guitar
Genre = Rock and roll
Psychedelic rock
Occupation = Musician
Years_active = 1962 - present
Label = Velvel, Koch International, Rolling Stones, BMG
Associated_acts = The Rolling Stones, Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings, The Cliftons
URL = []
Notable_instruments = Framus Star Bass
Vox Teardrop bass
Fender Mustang Bass

Bill Wyman (born William George Perks on 24 October 1936) was the bass guitarist for the English rock and roll band The Rolling Stones from 1962 until 1992. Since 1997, he has recorded and toured with his own band, Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings.

Early life

Bill Wyman was born in Lewisham Hospital, Pied Heath Road, Ladywell, Lewisham, South London, the son of William Perks, a bricklayer,and his wife, Molly. One of five children, Bill spent most of his early life living in a terraced house in one of the roughest streets in Sydenham, south east London. He describes his childhood as "scarred by poverty".cite book |last=Wyman |first=Bill |title=Stone Alone |publisher=Viking |date=1990 |id=ISBN 0-670-82894-7 |pages=pg. 41]

He attended Beckenham and Penge Grammar School from 1947 to Easter 1953, leaving before the GCE exams after his father found him a job working for a bookmaker and insisted that he take it.

Music career

Wyman took piano lessons from 10 to 13. A year after his marriage on 24 October 1959 to Diane Cory, an eighteen-year-old bank clerk, he bought a Burns electric guitar for £52 on hire-purchase, but was not satisfied by his progress.Wyman 1990. pg. 82-84.] After hearing a bass guitar at The Barron Knights' concert, he fell in love with the sound of it and decided this was his instrument. He created the first fretless electric bass [Roberts, Jim (2001). 'How The Fender Bass Changed the World' or Jon Sievert interview with Bill Wyman, guitar player magazine december (1978)] [This fretless bass can be heard on The Rolling Stones songs such as "Paint It, Black".] by removing the frets from a bass guitar he was reworking, and played this in a south London band, The Cliftons. He used the stage name Lee (later Bill) Wyman, taking the surname of a friend with whom he had done National Service in the Royal Air Force from 1955 to 1957.Wyman 1990. pg. 141.]

On 29 March 1962, Stephen Paul Wyman, the only child of his marriage to Diane, was born.

The Rolling Stones

When drummer Tony Chapman told him of a fledgling rhythm and blues band called The Rolling Stones that needed a bass player, he auditioned and was hired in December 1962 as a successor to Dick Taylor. The band were impressed by his instrument and amplifier and by his ability to provide cigarettes, but because he was married, employed and older than the rest of the members, Wyman always remained somewhat of an outsider in the group.

In addition to playing bass, Wyman frequently sang harmony on early Rolling Stones records, and (through 1967) in concert as well. He sang lead vocals on the track "In Another Land," released both on the "Their Satanic Majesties Request" album and also as a single. The song is one of two Wyman compositions released by the Rolling Stones; the second is "Downtown Suzie" (sung by Mick Jagger), which was released on "Metamorphosis", a collection of Rolling Stones outtakes. (The title of "Downtown Suzie" was chosen by the Rolling Stones' erstwhile manager Allen Klein without consulting Wyman or the band;Fact|date=August 2008 the subject of the song is actually named Lucy).

Wyman kept a journal of his days with the Rolling Stones, and used it in writing his 1990 autobiography "Stone Alone" and his 2002 book "Rolling with the Stones", which provides a history of the band. In "Stone Alone", Wyman claims to have composed the riff of "Jumpin' Jack Flash," with some input from Rolling Stones co-founder Brian Jones and drummer Charlie Watts. Wyman also mentions that the Rolling Stones' major hit "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" was released as a single only after a split 3-2 vote within the band: Wyman, Watts and Jones voted to release "Satisfaction" as a single, while Mick Jagger and Keith Richards voted against it, feeling it was not sufficiently "commercial" to sell well.

By the 1970s, Wyman had tired of the monopolization of the Rolling Stones' songwriting and production by "The Glimmer Twins" Jagger and Richards,Fact|date=August 2008 and he began to pursue solo projects more intensively. In the 1970s and early '80s Wyman released three solo albums, none of which was particularly successful in terms of sales but received good reviews from critics.Fact|date=August 2008 His single "(Si, Si) Je Suis Un Rock Star," released in July 1981, became a top-20 hit in many countries.cite book |last=Wyman |first=Bill |title=Rolling With the Stones |publisher=DK Publishing |date=2002 |id=ISBN 0-7894-9998-3 |pages=pg. 466]

In the mid-1960s, Wyman composed the musical score of the Ryan O'Neal-Omar Sharif film "Green Ice". In the mid-80s, Wyman composed music for two films by Italian film director Dario Argento: 1985's "Phenomena" and 1987's "Terror At The Opera". In addition, Wyman made a cameo appearance in the 1987 British film "Eat The Rich." He also produced and managed groups such as Tucky Buzzard.

Wyman was close to Rolling Stones founder-guitarist Brian Jones; he and Charlie Watts were the only members of the group to attend Jones' funeral in July 1969. Wyman was also friends with guitarist Mick Taylor. Like all the other surviving Rolling Stones he has worked with Taylor on various occasions after Taylor's departure from the band.

After the Rolling Stones' 1989-1990 Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle tours, Wyman decided to call it a day; his decision to leave the band was announced publicly in December 1992.cite web |last =McPherson |first=Ian |title=The Rolling Stones Chronicle 1992 |url= |accessdate=2008-08-26 | ] The Rolling Stones have continued to record and tour with Darryl Jones playing bass.

Wyman has stated that from the late 1980s onward The Rolling Stones' recorded music had become creatively stagnant, that he had lost interest in the experiences of recording and touring with the band, and that it was simply the right time for him to retire from the band.Fact|date=August 2008 Jagger has also said that Wyman had developed a fear of flying and had found the air travel required by touring increasingly stressful.Fact|date=August 2008

Recent activity

Wyman continues to tour with "The Rhythm Kings", which has featured such musicians as Martin Taylor [ [] Martin Taylor interview (2008) in which he speaks of working with Wyman] , Albert Lee, Gary Brooker, Terry Taylor (formerly with Tucky Buzzard), Mike Sanchez and Georgie Fame.

Following his 70th birthday in October 2006, he undertook another British tour.

On the 10 December 2007, Wyman and his band appeared alongside a reunited Led Zeppelin at the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert at The O2 in London.

Musical instruments

Wyman taught himself several instruments, including autoharp, guitar, vibraphone, glockenspiel, piano, organ, synthesiser, percussion and cello.Fact|date=August 2008 His bass sound came not only from his home-made fretless bass, but the "walking bass" style he adopted, inspired by Willie Dixon and Ricky Fenson and his tight work with Charlie Watts.Fact|date=August 2008 Their sound not only anchored the group, but exemplified the "heartbeat and pulse" idea behind ideal rhythm sections.Fact|date=August 2008 Wyman has played a number of basses including a Framus Star bass, a Vox Teardrop bass (issued as a Bill Wyman signature model), a Fender Mustang Bass, a Gibson SG Bass, a Rickenbacker 4005 and a Travis Bean bass.

Personal life

Wyman, although moderate in his use of alcohol and drugs, has stated that he became "girl mad" as a psychological crutch.cite web |last =McPherson |first=Ian |title=Portrait of Bill |url= |accessdate=2008-08-26 | ] Maxim magazine ranked Wyman at number 10 on its "Living Sex Legends" list, as he is reputed to have had sex with over 1000 women. [ [,0,5057260.story Sheen Only No. 2 on 'Living Sex Legends' List - The 'Two and a Half Men' star allegedly has 5,000 notches on his rapidly dwindling bedpost - Zap2it ] ] It is believed and stated by many sourcesWho|date=August 2008 that Wyman's conquest tally passed 2000 women throughout his 31-year tenure as bassist of the Rolling Stones.Fact|date=August 2008 In 1989 Wyman married the eighteen-year-old Mandy Smith, whom he had been dating for a few years; their relationship was the subject of considerable media attention. The marriage ended in 1991, and in 1993 he married Suzanne Accosta. They are still married and have three children.Wyman 2002. pg. 487, pg. 496-497.]

Non-musical activities

Away from the Stones, Wyman pursued other interests including opening the Sticky Fingers Café in 1989, a rock 'n roll-theme bistro serving American cuisine in Kensington, London. He divides his time between his manor in Suffolk and a house in the south of France. Former Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham says that of all the Stones, Wyman is the most at peace with himself.Fact|date=February 2007

Wyman is an amateur archaeologist and has a hobby of relic hunting, having a letter published in The Times about his hobby (Friday 2 March 2007). A model of metal detector is on sale under his name.

Wyman is an avid cricket supporter, and has been since an early age. His finest moment came in a celebrity match at The Oval against a former England XI when he took a hat-trick. [Sky Sports interview, August 2008, featuring celebrities discussing their love for cricket]

Solo albums

* "Monkey Grip" (June 1974) UK #39 [1 wk] , US #99 [11 wks]
* "Stone Alone" (March 1976) US #166 [5 wks]
* "Bill Wyman" (April 1982) UK #55 [6 wks]
* "Willie & The Poor Boys" (May 1985) US #96 [12 wks]
* "Stuff" (October 1992 in Japan and Argentina only, 2000 UK)
* "" (2002, UK)

Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings

* "Struttin' Our Stuff" (October 1997)
* "Anyway The Wind Blows" (February 1999)
* "Groovin"' (May 2000) UK #52 [3 wks]
* "Double Bill" (May 2001) UK #88 [2 wks]
* "Just For A Thrill" (May 2004) UK #149 [1 wk]

Solo singles

* "(Si, Si) Je Suis Un Rock Star" (July 1981) UK #14 [9 wks]
* "A New Fashion" (March 1982) UK #37 [4 wks]
* "Baby Please Don't Go" (June 1985) US Mainstream Rock #35 [7 wks]


Bill Wyman has authored or co-authored the following titles


* "Bill Wyman's Treasure Islands" ISBN 0-7509-3967-2

Rolling Stones

* "Stone Alone" ISBN 0-306-80783-1
* "Rolling with the Stones" ISBN 0-7513-4646-2.
* "Bill Wyman's Blues Odyssey" ISBN 0-7513-3442-1
* "The Stones - A History in Cartoons" ISBN 0-7509-4248-7

The latter three books and Bill Wyman's Treasure Islands all written in collaboration with Richard Havers


External links

* [ Bill Wyman's website]
* [ Bill Wyman's Signature Metal Detector website]
* [ Bill Wyman Corporate Events]
* [ The Rolling Stones website]
* [ Solo discography]
* [ Rolling Stones BILL WYMAN]
* [ Bill Wyman Interview]

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