Bob Dylan opined that sans William George Perks – aka Bill Wyman, the Rolling Stones were merely a dance band. With all due respect to Bill’s fine replacement, Darryl Jones, and dance bands – Dylan is correct once again. Older and musically wiser than his band-mates, Wyman brought the aesthetic of the upright to the electrified Stones – pulling the frets out of one of his early instruments and thus creating the first known fretless bass guitar.
Unlike Keith and Ronnie, who busily assumed the bass chair on several Stones tracks over the years, Bill’s brilliance lies in his use of space, rhythm, and often playing half-time on up-tempo songs – which, along with Charlie’s jazz chops, enabled the Stones to swing like no other rock band before or since he left the band in 1993. An author, photographer, and amateur archaeologist, Bill has been fronting his versatile blues/jazz Rhythm Kings ensemble for the past two decades which has featured a rotating cast of luminaries such as Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, Mark Knopfler, George Harrison, Georgie Fame, Gary Brooker, Paul Carrack, Mick Taylor, Andy Fairweather-Low, and Gary US Bonds among many others. The Bass Centre in London honored Bill Wyman with a signature bass which looks as great as it plays.