Bill Wyman (The Rolling Stones, Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings)
By Thomas Semioli
Bob Dylan opined that sans the former 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 wiser than his band-mates, Wyman brought the aesthetic of the upright to the Stones – pulling the frets out of his Framus instrument and thus creating the first known fretless bass guitar.
An electrified disciple of Willie Dixon with a stage presence which exudes the essence of cool, Bill’s brilliance is founded in his intuitive use of rhythm and space. Wyman often played 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.
An author, photographer, and amateur archaeologist, Bill fronted his versatile blues / jazz Rhythm Kings ensemble for the past few decades which featured a rotating cast of his famous friends including 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 – now in his 80s, Wyman is, for all purposes, retired.
Among the most influential bassists of the rock era, The Bass Centre in London crafted a Bill Wyman signature bass which looks as great as it plays.