Bill Wyman played bass for an impressive 31 years until leaving in 1992 for the Rolling Stones. His departure and replacement by bassist Daryl Jones was not revealed until 1993. He went on to a point where he had seen almost everything with the band, including the infamous 1969 Altamont concert stabbing, Keith, Ronnie and Mick’s arrogance, arrests, party hardy and the works.
Wyman eventually rejoined the Rolling Stones for the band’s half-century anniversary tour in 2012, and from the stage he splits his time between London and France; When he’s not playing bass, he likes to run his restaurant “Sticky Fingers” and fill it with lots of memorabilia in the style and sense of a hard rock cafe. Those things aside, let’s explore a bit of this bass player’s trajectory to find out why Bill Wyman left the Rolling Stones.
Bill Wyman: Live in the Stones
Bill Wyman is the bass of The Rolling Stones. His role was to lay an understated foundation for the band’s other instrumental and vocal delivery. While the guitars of Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and eventually Mick Jagger gave soul to iconic rock anthems such as Sympathy for the Devil, Gimme Shelter, Angie or Start Me Up, it was Wyman’s playing style that was unique in that he chose to use an unconventional technique. , which created a sound that was both subtle and powerful at the same time.
When performing he used two fingers so he could reach deep into the strings and create an underlying groove for the rest of the band.
This, in turn, creates a fullness of sound and provides texture, which was an essential element of the Rolling Stones’ signature sound. As Bill Wyman himself said, “I think of myself as a backing singer with a bass guitar.” Wyman never did the powerful bass that would overshadow the lead guitar; It’s not his thing. Instead, he had the groove. Just listen to Sympathy for the Devil, and you’ll notice how bass affects the track.
Appreciating a good bass player is something music fans learn to develop. Most people claim that “they can’t hear the bass”, and that’s fine to the untrained ear, but in Wyman’s case, his style was never overly restricted, as he learned to play the bass old-school.
Why did Bill Wyman leave the stone?
Bill Wyman decided to leave the Rolling Stones in 1993 for various reasons; First, the way royalties are split in the Stones is not equal, and for a man who likes to indulge himself in such luxuries, living off the royalties isn’t enough to pay the bills.
Also in 1991 the band declined to sign a six-year, $44 million recording contract with Virgin Records, and the music business was becoming too political for a dude who just wanted to have fun playing bass as he had been doing for the past three decades.
Then, the tour was a bit stressful thing for him; While he enjoyed the concerts, the tours and their pressures were becoming too much for him, and he needed some time to focus on his life, his family, and his health.
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When he decided to leave, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards could hardly believe it; They stopped the press and called Bill on the phone, asking him if he was real. Bill Wyman moved on to pursue personal projects; He opened a restaurant, did some more music, worked with small bands and played bass the way he liked.
Meanwhile, the Rolling Stones are the same band; After his departure, the band hired Daryl Jones and recorded albums such as Voodoo Lounge, Stripped, Bridges to Babylon, No Security, Live Licks, A Bigger Bang, Shine a Light, Blue and Lonesome and Hackney Diamonds. Bill Wyman chose another path; He left, but he left on good terms, so much so that he rejoined the band in 2012 for their 50th anniversary. And all the bad wounds are gone.
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