Top 10 Rolling Stones Bill Wyman Songs
Born William George Perks on Oct. 24, 1936, Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman has been called laid back, stoic and reserved. He has also been called one of the greatest bass players rock and roll has ever known. His subtle yet highly effective playing was the pulse of the band through their finest hours. He, along with drummer Charlie Watts, provided the perfect rhythm section for the raunchy rock and roll the band is best known for. We salute Mr. Wyman and a few of his most shining contributions to the greatest rock and roll band in the world with our countdown of the Top 10 Rolling Stones Bill Wyman Songs.
What a classic! This slow groover from the band's 1971 masterpiece 'Sticky Fingers' is a thing of beauty. Jagger & Richards harmonies blend perfectly as the band provides a grinding groove. Wyman delivers the melodic anchor that holds it all together. Those subtle yet brilliant bass runs throughout are a Wyman trademark.
The Stones go disco! That was the cry from diehard rockers at the time, but that didn't last long as the song became an instant hit and remains one of the band's most beloved tracks. "I suppose you could say I created what was happening on 'Miss You,'" Wyman boasted to Bass Player magazine. "The walking bass, that octave bass thing. After that, just about every band in the world took that idea at the time and used it in a song."
'Paint It, Black'
'Paint It, Black' is a perfect snapshot of the era in which it was created. Brian Jones' sitar perfectly compliments the powerhouse drive of Wyman and Watts. "I loved recording 'Paint It, Black,'" Wyman told Bass Player magazine. "When I laid on the floor and pumped the organ pedal with my fist, because I can’t play with my feet, that rhythm kind of made the record, because it was lacking something before I suggested doing that."
'Monkey Man' is a brooding masterpiece from the 'Let It Bleed' album, and deserves to be among the Top 10 Rolling Stones Bill Wyman Songs. The bassist is front and center and his subtle yet effective bass lines work their magic on this 1969 classic. 'Monkey Man' is one of the band's, and Wyman's, best performances.
What can we say about 'Gimme Shelter' that hasn't been said time and again. It's not only a Top 10 Rolling Stones Bill Wyman Song, it's one of the greatest tracks in rock history. After an early attempt using a Keith Richards vocal, Jagger took his rightful place behind the mic and the rest, as they so often say, is history. Wyman's bass is so simple but so perfect for the mood of the song. The groove the band gets on here is sinister and inviting, thanks in large part to Wyman and Watts.
'Downtown Suzie' is one of only two officially released Rolling Stones records written by Wyman. This raunchy rocker was a 1969 outtake from the 'Let It Bleed' sessions, and is very much in the style of what the band were doing at the time. It was left off the album for unknown reasons, but was eventually released on the 'Metamorphosis' compilation in 1975.
Wyman actually kicks off this 1967 beauty. The lead off track from 'Between The Buttons' (UK version) is a perfect 'Swinging London' style pop song. Brian Jones contributes harpsichord and marimba while Richards' tremelo guitar cuts to the core. Meanwhile, Wyman's bass is the real star here, driving the song all the way home.
'In Another Land'
Actually released as a single under Wyman's name, this psychedlic wonder from the band's classic 'Their Satanic Majesties Request' album is 1967 pop in full lysergic color. Written and sung by Wyman, the use of phase and tremelo on his vocals only add to the magic of the record. Along with Watts, Jones, Jagger and Richards, the song also features contributions from Ronnie Lane and Steve Marriott of the Small Faces.
'Jumpin Jack Flash'
Though Richards actually plays bass on the studio version, Wyman owns it on this 1969 live version from the 'Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out' album. He does play organ on the original record. In his autobiography 'Stone Alone,' Wyman gives himself credit for the main riff of the song. "We got to the studio early, there was just myself, Brian and Charlie," he explains. "I was just messing about at the piano and started doing this riff, da-daw, da-da-daw, da-da-daw, then Brian played a bit of guitar and Charlie was doing a rhythm. Mick and Keith came in and said, 'Hey, that sounded really good, what is it?'"
'19th Nervous Breakdown'
'19th Nervous Breakdown' is easily one of the Top 10 Rolling Stones Bill Wyman Songs! Mick Jagger's Dylan-inspired vocal rides high atop the train like rhythm section, with Watts swinging as Wyman sways. Throw in some raunchy Bo Diddley-style guitar licks from Richards and Jones and you've got a genuine classic. Wyman's dive bomber bass runs at the song's end are the grand exclamation point completing a perfect sentence. The song hit No. 1 in the U.K. and No. 2 in the States.