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Sound Check with Bill Wyman

The Stone that Rolled Away

by Timothy Tilghman

       Rolling With The Stones is the latest book by Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bill Wyman and co-author Richard Havers. Half table book and half scrap book, the new publication from Dorling Kindersley is an incredible visual review covering the recording and performing career of the Rolling Stones.

       Born William George Perks, the quondam Stones bassist celebrated his 66th birthday last month. Wyman participated in the British Invasion of America in 1964, when American youth surrendered to the pop sounds of British beat groups. During his 30 year tenure as bassist for the Rolling Stones, Wyman sang lead once on an original composition, "In Another Land", released as a single by the Stones in November 1967.

       Wyman's activity outside the Stones began in earnest in 1981, composing the soundtrack to Green Ice. He became the first Stone to release a hit solo album in 1982, participated on the U.S. 1983 ARMS Benefit Tour, and produced the semi-autobiographical film, Digital Dreams. In 1985, Wyman coordinated the Willie and the Poor Boys studio album as well as a live album later in 1992.

       Wyman officially departed the Stones in January 1993. His next major act was forming a second band, Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings, in 1997, that has gone on to record four successful studio albums and three volumes of live performances. Last year, Dorling Kindersley published the highly acclaimed Bill Wyman's Blues Odyssey, authored by Wyman and Richard Havers. Wyman's autobiography, Stone Alone, was published in 1990.

       Wyman's professional musical career was launched as a guitarist for The Cliftons in 1960. While attending an August 1961 performance by the Barron Knights, Wyman made a life altering decision to pick up the electric bass guitar and promptly purchased one. Although The Cliftons were on the rise as a performing unit, the band suffered several setbacks over the autumn of 1962.

       Tony Chapman, the Cliftons' drummer, mentioned to Wyman there was a bass audition for a struggling rhythm and blues group, The Rollin' Stones. Unimpressed by the musicians he met, the elder bassist found common musical ground and joined Ian Stewart on piano, Brian Jones and Keith Richards on guitars, and Mike Jagger as vocalist. Charlie Watts later joined the Stones behind the drumkit in January 1963.

       Bill Wyman jammed with Mick Jagger and Ron Wood on stage at the Harrington Club in London two years ago. Wyman recently commented in the press he would like to be asked to join his former band mates on stage one more time. Even he thinks this could be the last tour! Wyman's final gig with the Stones was at Wembley Stadium in London, which closed the 1990 European Urban Jungle Tour on August 25.

       RockonTour conducted a new interview with the Alone Stone to welcome his comments as the Rolling Stones reach a major musical milestone - 40 years together as a band. The Stone Age began for Wyman on December 7, 1962, when his stage equipment became the envy of an unknown R&B combo, allowing him to pass the audition and become bassist for The Rollin' Stones.

Special Thanks to Cathy Melnicki

RockonTour   Issue #14
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