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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Glimpse Into The Making Of 60's Rock Legends
Thanks to the Rolling Stones' bass player Bill Wyman's neurotic habit of keeping journals and detailed records of nearly every aspect of his life, we have in this book a precious and rare opportunity to look at the formative days of the Rolling Stones. I am absolutely dumbfounded at other reviews which refer to this book as boring or concerned only with uninteresting...
Published on December 2, 2001 by First Things First

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but darn it, Bill, if you can't keep it in you pants, keep it off the pages.
If you want to experience what it may have been like to be one of the Rolling Stones - the original Rolling Stones - back in the 1960's, this book offers a good, day-by-day diary of the band. Unfortunately, Wyman can't seem to hold back a rather adolescent urge to not only talk about the band, which I expected to read, but a confession/bragging/blow-by-blow account of...
Published 9 months ago by Michael John Kennedy


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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Glimpse Into The Making Of 60's Rock Legends, December 2, 2001
This review is from: Stone Alone: The Story of a Rock 'n' Roll Band (Paperback)
Thanks to the Rolling Stones' bass player Bill Wyman's neurotic habit of keeping journals and detailed records of nearly every aspect of his life, we have in this book a precious and rare opportunity to look at the formative days of the Rolling Stones. I am absolutely dumbfounded at other reviews which refer to this book as boring or concerned only with uninteresting details of mundane matters. The book is a witty, compelling and fascinating account of how a devotee of the American Blues genre named Brian Jones, plucked the title of a Muddy Waters record called "Rollin' Stone Blues", and used it as the name of the band he formed to jam on the blues for the pure pleasure of it. Only later through chance meetings, serendipity, and fate did musicians Bill Wyman, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts cross his path and redirect the band's musical focus towards original songwriting and pop stardom, leading to the ultimate unraveling of Brian Jones's mental stability which eventually let to his untimely death by drug-induced drowning. Contrary to bizarre assertions by other reviewers that Bill Wyman was a vindictive malcontent, and a jealous and egotistical songwriting competitor to the Jagger/Richards team, Mr. Wyman was and is a quiet, fun-loving, and happy person with a droll sense of humor. Of course the Stones had their differences, fights, spats, and arguments just like every group of people involved in long-term relationships, and these are related with honesty here. Wyman in fact uses most of this book as a vehicle to express his love and admiration for his fellow Stones and at the genius of The Glimmer Twins (Jagger and Richards). Rarely tooting his own horn as a songwriter, Wyman does at one point wryly relate the tale of how HE and not Jagger and Richards came up with the lick for one of the Stones' most compelling songs "Jumpin' Jack Flash", for which he was never given credit. The first-hand recounting of the band's sudden rise to stardom, from the dismal empty clubs in England to the world stage, is compelling reading and the stories of the groupies, the band's exact pay at every gig, the financial debacles, and eventually their monetary revival which occured after Mick Jagger met a Swiss Baron who took over the Stone's books, are all vital statements of fact, valuable lessons to musicians of today and an integral part of the story of one of the greatest bands of all time. Ray Coleman does an exemplary job of working with Wyman and turning out one of the great books of rock. Thank you Bill and Ray for this amazing record of a legendary period!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1963 to 1969: 7 Magical Years of Music & Madness!, March 10, 2002
This review is from: Stone Alone: The Story of a Rock 'n' Roll Band (Paperback)
... 1963 to 1969: 7 Magical Years of Music & Madness! ... That's what this book is: about the first seven years of the life of The Rolling Stones - and it's INTENSE! (Would you expect otherwise from a Scorpio?). ... This book begins with a chapter called FLASH FORWARD that talks about more recent events, as an overview of their whole carreer, in the life of The Rolling Stones. It ends with the story of the free concert the Stones gave in Hyde Park on July 5, 1969 in memory of Brian Jones, who had "died" just 3 days before! ... In between those two poles in time, Bill Wyman fills-in the cracks - from HIS point of view, which is very detailed. One comes away with the feeling that The Stones should have ditched Andrew Loog Oldham at the start, NEVER hired Allen Klein, kept Eric Easton as their main manager, and paid Bill Wyman an extra salary to look after their monetary affairs. He would have done a better job! ... Yeah, Brian Jones should have NEVER given-in to the pressure of Oldham, Jagger & Richards to boot Ian "Stu" Stewart out of the performing line-up of the band; but in the same light, ALL of them should never have allowed Oldham to hire Allen Klein. BIG MISTAKE! (How in their right minds could they then have even recommended him to John Lennon to manage The Beatles, too ... unless it was competitive sabotage tactics?). One comes away with the feeling from reading this book that - other than his blatant marriage infidelities - Bill Wyman is a very decent human being and a much more talented musician than most people realise. Also, he has a sincere affection, and respect, for Brian Jones, which shines through clearly. (On this, I totally agree with the reviewer from Montgomey, Alabama.) Page 307 alone will convince anyone who has any doubts about the matter that Brian Jones was being persecuted by both people in and out of the band (as well as by the law, and even by Anita Von Pallenberg). They knew his weaknesses, and they used it against him to their advantage. ... The one line in the book that hits home more than any other are Brian's words themselves, on page 289: "Ghosts of the morning can be seen on the skyline, if you watch intently enough..." - Brian Jones, Cork, Ireland, January, 1965. ... All in all, this book reads like a diary of one of the greatest acts of all time. I'm waiting for parts 2 and 3 to come out one day, so we will finally find out what really went on in the seventies and eighties as well! Because, if Bill Wyman kept notes until the very end of his watch in 1989 with the end of the Steel Wheels tour (I was there in Foxboro!), then those next two books covering those two decades should be just as interesting, if not as fascinating - for, after all, without Brian Jones, The Stones were never the same. ... Thank you, Bill Wyman, for an excellent expose from the inside on the working dynamics of the greatest Rock 'n' Roll band in the world! ... - The Aeolian Kid.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Detailed story of The Stones up to 1969, December 24, 2003
By 
Jack Fitzgerald "JFD" (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Stone Alone: The Story of a Rock 'n' Roll Band (Paperback)
Bill Wyman's "Stone Alone" is an excellent biography of The Rolling Stones, with the perspective of an insider but not the one at center stage.
As the bass player and one of the founding members of The Stones, Bill Wyman was also the band's historian, keeping detailed journals about the band, and this contributes to making fleshed out anecdotes about the band from the early days until the death of Brian Jones and their free concert at Hyde Park in July 1969.
As a bio-piece, there is the usual growing up poor in post-war Britain saga. Wyman engages readers with vivid images and a keen memory that bring this period to life, and he also builds brief pieces for the other founding members of the Stones, Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts.
Having always been a casual fan of TRS, I learned a lot from this book. The major parts are fairly common knowledge in rock music lore, but here are some of the main points:
*Brian Jones was the key influence in the early days, having a genius level aptitude for learning instruments, and possessing a charisma on par with Mick Jagger's. He was also a very screwed up guy with a number of physical ailments and emotional instability.
*Ian Stewart was a key contributor, as a pianist, then road manager after his "relegation" by Andrew Oldham.
*While Andrew Oldham profoundly influenced their growth, he also screwed them over, as did manager Allen Klein. What happened to all of that money?
*Wyman was a shameless philanderer who detailed his many road conquests, but was also a doting father to his son, Stephen.
Wyman also had a lot of bitterness toward Jagger and Richards, for their egos, their controlling of the band and ignoring contributions of other band members and reaping a greater share of songwriting royalties. Wyman details how his own projects were shunted to the side. The Jagger/Richards/Oldham "unholy trinity" also led to Brian Jones becoming a sideman, never blossoming as a songwriter, and eventual ouster from the band. Well, actually, Jones own self-destructive behavior contributed greatly to these three things.
Wyman provides amazing details about each show, from the number of attendees, the gross receipts and what happened. It was also interesting to note his bank balance at various junctures, as the public believed these guys were millionaires when they were basically broke because of the mismanagement of their accounts by Klein.
Some critiques: The book is pretty long, and the anecdotes of concert, riots and screaming girls in the early years get pretty repetitive.
I would have liked to have learned more about the music itself and how the songs came together. This book is many about the performances and personal escapades of the band members.
Still, the information presented provides a great glimpse into the Stones early lives and music from 1963-69. Having read this book, I'm eager to find the next "chapter" and delve further into The Stones music catalog from the blues/R&B period as well as songs beyond the obvious hits.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Journey Into a Wild and Exciting time, July 9, 2002
By 
Jose (Makati City, Manila Philippines) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Stone Alone: The Story of a Rock 'n' Roll Band (Paperback)
Bill Wyman's solid and detailed recollection of the birth and rise of the Rolling Stones paints a poignant yet triumphant picture of the how the Stones managed to captivate the youth of the day despite terrible predjudices based merely on their appearance as well as their image. This is a story of a bunch of hopefuls, misfits and straight men who together became the most lasting and formidable rock acts of all time. A group whose early entanglements with the establishment and whose vigorous stage persona paved the way for hundreds of acts that followed in their stead.
Wyman's account is honest, humorous and entertaining. His insights on music are fascinating, his recollections of Brian Jones, the genius behind the band's original concept and the rising stars of Jagger/Richards make the story an epic one worthy of a full length film. Then there's enough information on other important personas in the Stones entourage who were never credited but deserved to share in the band's success.
Also, there's the drugs, the scandals, the groupies, the wild riots and the thousands of mad fans accross the many venues where the Stones rocked on. All in all a great book for any lover of rock music.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful diary of inside the 60's Stones. Beautiful., January 31, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Stone Alone: The Story of a Rock 'n' Roll Band (Paperback)
This may seem a bit odd but my two favorite Stones were always Charlie Watts & Bill Wyman. They were the rock solid rhythm foundation for the band. They never recieved the press that the others did but the band would never have flown without them, and I am a Stones fan from 1963. This book reveals Bill's life as a child growing up in England, experiencing the trials and tribulations of war torn London. Accounts of his family life and the first bands that he ever played with, not to mention the history of the Stones and his relationships with each of the members, his marriages and children and countless other issues and information, plus fantastic photos and many rare shots of the band in the early days. This is a wonderful read and not to be missed. I highly recommend this book. You will be amazed at much of the factual information.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Overview, Needs More Music, Less Finances, February 10, 2007
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This review is from: Stone Alone: The Story of a Rock 'n' Roll Band (Paperback)
This is a good insider book on the Rolling Stones, but long-time Stones bass wizard Bill Wyman spends too much time discussing how poor the band remained well into the period where they were considered millionaires and not enough on the creative processes behind the incredible songbook the band created. It is fascinating to see how the Stones were conned by Alan Klein, but even that gets old after several hundred pages. Wyman is at his best when he discusses the lesser-known members of the band, such as Charlie Watts or Brian Jones. His overall opinion of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards is that they shorted the other band members in the recognition department for the many songs that the others either wrote or helped write but got absolutely no credit (and thus no royalties) for. This is a legitimate beef and has always bothered not only Wyman, but also Mick Taylor and Ronnie Wood.
Wyman is honest in his assessment of his own personal life, which left much to be desired. He also is kind in his assessment of Brian Jones, whose role has been trivialized by the louder remaining Stones but who was the creator and driving force of the band and the sound during their formative years.
The book gets bogged down from time to time with an almost obsessive attention to detail on finances, but it's an enjoyable and informative read most of the time. Wyman's picture book 'Rolling with the Stones' is superior. If you are a Stones fan, both books are required reading.
Hats off to the greatest bass player the Stones could ever hope to have. They have never been the same without him. Thank you, Bill, for the music and the memories.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative: A must for the true Stones fan!, August 22, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Stone Alone: The Story of a Rock 'n' Roll Band (Paperback)
This book covers the original Rolling Stones from their early beginings the way that only an insider can tell it. This is one of the few books that gives the late Brain Jones the credit he deserves regarding his vision for the group he formed and led! Much insight on the inner workings and behavior of the five young men from London who 's goal it was to sell the blues to their young English audiance and ultimately the world. What got in the way was personalities and ambitions. According to Wyman the original Rollin' Stones was a blues band headed by purist Brian Jones. Their early selections were those of Jimmy Reed, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Howlin Wolf and, the man who's song Rollin' Stone Blues they derived their name from, Muddy Waters. Although much of the book talks about Wyman's many many on the road affairs with groupies, too much in my opinion, it is a treasure chest of information about the early years and beginings of the world's greatest rock and roll band.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Book on the Stones I've Read, November 27, 2010
This review is from: Stone Alone: The Story of a Rock 'n' Roll Band (Paperback)
I read Bill Wyman's book years ago when it first came out. Since then, I have re-read it several times. To me, it is the best book written on the Stones (and I have read a lot of books on them) from someone who was there. Now I haven't yet read Keith Richard's new book, but having seen any number of Keith's interviews, I don't imagine that it will contain much that I, a LONG time Stones fan since I first saw them in 1964 on "Hollywood Palace," have not heard about. Wyman details the early, formative years of Brian Jones, the band's founder, as well as the other members, himself included. He is meticulous (like a bass player should be) in his detail of gigs the band played. Yes, he mentions his sexual conquests, but who can blame him? Until the Stones "broke" big, he was just another English "Everyman," with no hope of having anything more in life than a secure job and a pension when he retired. Living the rock 'n roll dream included lots of girls, and he took full advantage of this, even though he was a married man early on in the Stones' career. He also is critical of the money situation in the 60's when everyone thought the Stones were millionaires, but when in actuality, the band members had plenty of credit, but little real cash. He outlines how Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and their manager Andrew Oldham, ended up being the team that got the Stones on top, leaving Brian Jones to a long, gradual decline, much of it of his own making. This ends with Jones's dismissal from the band in 1969 and his still mysterious death a month later. Yes, it's a long book, but if you are a true Rolling Stones fan, and not just a casual listener, it's a great one. Wyman comes across as being thoughtful, insightful, sometimes critical of his band mates, especially what he calls the "front line" of Jagger, Richards, and Jones, and perhaps a little resentful that contributions he made to the band were downplayed over the years. He states at the start that one of his main goals was to see that Brian Jones got credit as being the one that founded and led the band back then in the early 60's. And despite the fact that Jones has been relegated to being a mere footnote in the history of the Stones long, successful career, Wyman DOES succeed in letting people know that it was indeed Jones, and not Jagger or Richards, who was the original founder of the band and who was the leader who got the Stones rolling way back in the early 60's. More people will probably read Keith's book, but this one is a gem.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good - but dryly written, almost like a diary, January 1, 1999
By A Customer
As other reviews stated, the book is very thorough and gives extremely good insight to the early stones. It especially describes the many contributions of Brian Jones which are not usually talked about or even known by many. The early history is quite fascinating. Although I do recommend the book I have a few problems with the book that greatly dimish its reading pleasure 1) It only covers from 1963 to 1969 (so we don't know what happened in the 70s and 80s) 2) Wyman constantly discusses the woman he has "had", this gets old pretty quickly 3) It is at times very dry reading, often it is just a bunch of facts listed in chronological order from his diary But overall this book is chuck-full of information that only an insider would know and can describe. This is really the basis that I recommend the book. I did read it quickly (in a few sittings) which is very rare for me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book about the Stones and the life in the 60s!, March 1, 1998
By A Customer
This book is definitely the best book available about the Stones, and an indispensable source of information for the Rolling Stones fan. Wyman have collected memories and diaries from the very beginning of the 'Stones career, which finally, in the early nineties, got together in this wonderful book. It all begins at the moment when Bill was born in 1936, and it spans from his childhood all the way to the Hyde Park-concert given to the memory of Brian Jones, in 1969. It has a lot of details and interesting, deep, true stories about the 'Stones life and the sixties. Read about the club-gigs in the early years, the life on Edith Groove in London, the great tours in the mid-60's, the US-visits, the drug-busts in 1967, the truth about Brian, and much, much more.
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Stone Alone: The Story of a Rock 'n' Roll Band
Stone Alone: The Story of a Rock 'n' Roll Band by Bill Wyman (Paperback - August 22, 1997)
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