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Ten Things You May Not Know About Bill Wyman

Apr 19, 2013 at 5:47 PM | Music News | By Rock Square

Founding member and former bassist for the Rolling Stones, Bill Wyman, is a rock ‘n’ roll legend and his influence reaches beyond the music industry, as he recently released his commemorative memoir, Scrapbook. 

In addition to captivating Rolling Stones anecdotes, The Legacy Edition Scrapbook includes hand written commentary, photos and other previously unseen artifacts from his personal archives -- not to mention only 1962 copies will ever exist.

To celebrate all this Stones glory, we put together this list of fun facts about Bill Wyman — AND we're even offering up a copy of Scrapbook to one lucky community member, here.

So, book yourself a journey down Rolling Stones lane and enjoy the ride!

1.      Wyman is quite an accomplished author.

While Scrapbook details much of Wyman’s life, it had a precedent – over the years, seven books have been written and published by Wyman, who has actively kept a journal since his childhood, dating back to World War II. (source)

2.      The Stones’ debut album was visually revolutionary.

The artwork for the Stones’ 1964 debut was notable because it omitted any identifying information and only featured the musicians along with the Decca Records logo. At the time, that was a radical concept, fit for musicians who would go on to change the music industry forever.

3.      Three Stones songs were written solely by Wyman.

Although a bassist, Wyman composed two songs that ended up on official albums, “In Another Land”, off Their Satanic Majesties Request, and “Downtown Suzie” off Metamorphosis. Although “Goodbye Girl”, unfortunately didn’t end up on a Stones release, it's still a rock 'n' roll gem.

4.      Wyman was frustrated with the recording process for Their Satanic Majesties Request.

During the recording of the album, the band was wrought with tension and Wyman grew increasingly angry about various aspects of the process. As he told Rolling Stone, “Every day at the studio it was a lottery as to who would turn up and what – if any – positive contribution they would make when they did. Keith would arrive with anything up to ten people, Brian with another half-a-dozen and it was the same for Mick. They were assorted girlfriends and friends. I hated it! Then again, so did Andrew (Oldham) and just gave up on it. There were times when I wish I could have done, too.”

5.      Wyman might have coined an infamous music industry term.

According to Stones legend, Bill Wyman is the man responsible for the origin of the word “groupie” – perhaps stemming from an official tally he worked out during the band’s 1965 tour. (source)

6.      The zipper on the Sticky Fingers album cover had to be unzipped.

While the up close and personal shot of the male form, on the original Sticky Fingers album was pretty controversial, it wasn’t reason for the art adjustment. It was only when fans and record store owners complained that the zipper was damaging their vinyl, that the Stones adjusted the artwork. (source)

7.      Wyman recorded more bass tracks on Exile on Main St. than he’s credited for.

Wyman is recognized on eight tracks in the liner notes, however he set the record straight when told Bass Player Magazine: “When you read the back of the Exile album, it says someone else is playing bass on songs when it was actually me. Mick would always get the credits wrong, and it was too late to change them.” (source)

8.      He also patented his own metal detector.

Yup, you read that right -- not only is Wyman a legendary musician and a storied author, he’s also an entrepreneur, owning his own signature line of metal detectors. While you may not automatically associate metal detectors and world-class superstars, word is Wyman enjoys exploring the English countryside for old relics. (source)

9.      The main riff of Jumping Jack Flash was conceived by Wyman – he says.

While we know most Stones fans know this little tidbit, a Wyman list just wouldn’t be complete without it. According to one of his books, he originally thought of the lead riff of the song Jumping Jack Flash -- although, it's credited as a Jagger/Richards composition. (source)

10.    Wyman’s song Downtown Suzie was named without his approval.

One of the two Stones songs written and credited to Wyman, Downtown Suzie was given its name by manager Allen Klein, without seeking his approval. Its original title had been Sweet Lisle Lucy.

So there you have it, a few interesting facts about Bill Wyman and his time with the Stones – yet, our list only hits the tip of the iceberg. For more Rolling Stones wisdom, check out Scrapbook & you may even be lucky enough to get your hands on our copy!

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