Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Stone Alone: The Story of a Rock 'n' Roll Band
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on December 2, 2001
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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on March 10, 2002
... 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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VINE VOICEon December 24, 2003
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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on January 31, 1999
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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on July 9, 2002
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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on June 6, 2015
Surprisingly, Bill is quite the intellectual with a steady mind and clarity of thought. He is meticulous in his writing about the history of the band and all the players. You know you are getting the straight story here, no holds barred. The entire cast of characters really come alive in his book, particularly Brian Jones, who has been glossed over in other Stones' biographies. There's real depth in this story, and I very much appreciate his candidness and point of view.
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on December 9, 2013
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 every woman he slept with during those years. If he had been single, I might understand the inclusion of this material. The fact that he had a wife and child at home creates a rather creepy element to the book. I liked the sense of what it must have been like to experience the excitement, the insults from the press, and the personalities within the band. I gained a lot of respect for Charlie Watts who must be the coolest man on the planet. Clearly, Brian Jones was a flawed, complex, and sensitive tragic figure. Jagger and Richards fed on creative ambition leaving no prisoners. I really want to admire Bill Wyman, but it's pretty clear that this guy had a lot of trouble keeping his zipper up. His matter-of-fact reporting of his sex life, without any sense of boundaries, is a major drawback to this book.
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on February 10, 2007
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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on November 27, 2010
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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on December 20, 2011
While rock autobiographies have become the flavour of the day recently (Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Keith Richards, Ace Frehley and Duff McKagan have all written theirs recently, with Neil Young reportedly ready to pen his own), this is probably the granddaddy of them all - it was published in 1991 and precedes most of them (Bob Dylan published his in 2004), plus it is absolutely exhaustive! Wyman is the perfect autobiographer, being notoriously sober as an individual (as opposed to any of the above) with his memory presumably fairly intact; he's also a meticulous journal keeper and an archivist of press clippings, meaning that he is his own encyclopedic source of dates and data. Stone Alone rocks!

It's tough to review Bill Wyman and his book - first of all, Stone Alone is huge, 539 pages of text and several appendices. It is also only goes from his birth in 1936 (seven years before Mick Jagger and Keith Richards!) to 1969, ignoring the years between then and 1991, when the book was published. The book's opening chapter of 32 pages deals with his life at the time of writing and his romance and engagement to Mandy Smith, who was 13 when he met her and 18 when they married (the marriage didn't last more than two years and was ending as the book came out in 1991, even though he doesn't hint at it much more than Mandie's health problems, although the divorce wasn't complete until 1993), but then quickly dives into his youth and leads up to his involvement in the Stones.

But Wyman doesn't only write about himself, he also chronicles the background of each member of the band and their entourage, often also going into details of events he was not present for, such as some of the court hearings, or trips to Morocco, or tales from Brian Jones' sex life before he ever met Wyman. Many of the pages of the book recount gripes of expenses, with Bill noting the balance of his savings account, highlighting monies that were paid out to other Stones and not him, or how he lost out on the songwriting royalties to "Jumping Jack Flash", a song he claims he came up with the key riff for. Yes, lots of financial grousing, but also a fascinating trip through the dynamics of the Rolling Stones, the excitement of nearly being crushed to death by screaming teenage fans night after night on their grueling tours of 1963 to 1966. He also makes it his personal mission to vindicate Brian Jones as much as he can (and, being a balanced reporter, he also writes of the evil side of Jones' nature). The book ends with Jones' death on July 3rd 1969 (when I was only two months old). Wyman seems to have been close to Jones, probably closer than the other Stones (except maybe for drummer Charlie Watts, who attended Jones' funeral along with Wyman), and the two were fellow womanizers, competing with each number to see who had the greatest tally of bed partners. They were also among those excluded from the songwriting partnership of Jagger and Richards, and on the financial short end of the stick after being marginalised in terms of the band's leadership and direction, a bitterness that Wyman betrays indirectly in the pages of the book. Wyman is also very proud of the many awards that the band won: "When Mick came sixth in the best vocalist section of the popularity polls, Brian fourth in the best guitarist section and Charlie eighth in the drummer category, I won the poll as the best bass player." The book goes all the way up to the death of Brian Jones on July 3rd 1969 and ends with a description of the Hyde Park free concert for Brian Jones, one of the first free concerts ever.

The thing that hit me the most in the book, anecdotes of which are repeated over and over again throughout the book, is of the extreme hostility that the group met over their appearance - their "long" hair was considered a catastrophe by so many, it produced waves of hysteria and people didn't know how to deal with it (except the thousands of girls who went insane for them at their shows). Amazing that there was such low tolerance for such a minor break in decorum in those days (well, it's not really that hard to imagine - my dad maintains a squareness about hair to this day, his skin crawls whenever his hair grows long enough to touch the skin on his neck - of if he sees another guy with hair long enough to touch the skin at the back of his neck). They must have been really brainwashed to be so threatened by hair touching the collar, or covering the ears. The band was regularly banned from hotels and restaurants and some concert venues. Wow! In Australia, a policeman said "You know, ten or fifteen years ago we'd have lumbered those blokes on a vagrancy charge for impersonating females." Another said "I am unable to believe that five young men would make themselves look this way for real... it is all, I believe, a gigantic hoax on us, their elders."

Wyman's tome if full of interesting points. There's a bit about drugs and the Exile on Main St sessions. He describes being the first Stone to release a solo album, Monkey Grip, in 1974, and Stone Alone in 1976, which had 40 guest musicians on it, including Dr John, Van Morisson, Joe Walsh, Sly Stone and the Pointer Sisters (?!?). But the Rolling Stones office couldn't promote either, and in one case the answer Wyman got when he requested help was that the office was busy helping Keith find a nanny (?!?). Wyman's eccentricities are well known, and here he describes one - his youthful sexual attraction to his widowed aunt! The book covers the many encounters the Stones had with the Beatles, all of them friendly (except for that time that Paul McCartney was trying to make moves on Astrid Lundström in the early days of Bill's relationship with her), such as the time on the 15th of September 1963 when the Stones had "the unenviable task of opening a big concert that featured the Beatles at the top of the bill". "The Beatles watched us and they were, as they told us years later, very nervous about the reception we got." The gig was in aid of the Printers' Pension Corporation, ironic considering the unkind things that were said about the Stones in the press, and they were paid £35. Jimi Hendrix praised the single "We Love You", which had John Lennon and Paul McCartney singing backups on it, by saying "Production-wise, `We Love You' is very complex. More so than their other hits, I feel. This record only really moves me towards the end. I wouldn't say it was Beatles-influenced at all." More stories of Beatles-Stones collaborations: they were going to invest in a studio together, they were both into transcendental meditation, the Beatles were not smoking as the Stones had been for a while, and Mick lived just around the corner from Paul. There are some funny, ironic episodes: "At the Cardiff show [in 1965] some local Bo Diddley fans came backstage and we all chatted to them. One of the guys offered us some grass. The whole band freaked out and had them ejected." Ha ha ha!!! At that point, Charlie was the only one who had ever tried grass; this was soon to change.

There's lots of talk about fitting curtains for the new flat, making repairs, ironic and unglamorous stuff. The 1963 Christmas wish: "Best wishes to all the starving hairdressers and their families." Notes that the first Mick and Keith songs "It Should Be You" and "Will You Be My Lover Tonight" were recorded by George Bean. "The president of the National Federation of Hairdressers, Mr Wallace Snowcraft, announced that `A free haircut awaits the next artist or group to be the top of the pops. The Rolling Stones are the worst. One of them looks as if he's got a feather duster on his head.'" One particularly harrowing story has Brian Jones, separated from the Stones as they exit a show post haste to get away from the screaming fans, running down the road, fans tearing off his jacket, waistcoat (vest), and half of his shirt. Our classic rockers were all young men in those times, and one day Bill and Ian Stewart jammed with Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page at one club (!!!). One time in America they met Muddy Waters, who helped them move their amps (!!!), another time they met a snooty Chuck Berry, who perked up when he heard that they were recording one of his songs (and that he'd get royalties for it). "Swing on, gentlemen! You are sounding most well, if I say so. Wow, you guys are really getting it on!" Wyman recounts some of the postcards Brian wrote to his girlfriends or parents (how did he know what was said on them? Did Jones ask him to post them for him, and he recorded what was written on them for posterity?). Bill may have coined the word "groupie", but on the Australia tour their code word for available girl was "laundry." "Did you arrange the laundry for tonight?" they'd ask each other. In Melbourne, Mick told Bill that he slept with the woman who owned the motel that they were staying at and her daughter (but not at the same time, surely). "Two teenage girls who had been hiding in a cupboard in an adjoining room for two hours burst out and attempted to reach us; they were removed by security guards. Shame." Wyman notes arriving in Singapore on February 15th 1965, the day that Nat King Cole died at age 45 of cancer (Cole apparently smoked three packs of menthol cigarettes a day, believing it helped give his voice a rich sound). He noted the incredible heat, and the heavy security. The group was driven to Government House with the British Deputy High Commissioner Philip Moore and his family. There were two concerts, each for an audience of 10,000. There were Chinese New Year firecrackers going off, and at an evening reception for the band on the menu also were ladies of the night for everybody, courtesy of promoter Freddie Yu. Wyman was too nervous being with a paid woman, his first time despite having slept with hundreds of women, and couldn't perform - but the "toothpaste trick" finished off the deal. There are many stories of the establishment coming down on the Stones, such as a magistrate in Glasgow insulting the Stones, calling them "complete morons" and "animals", and that "they wear their hair down to their shoulders, wear filthy clothes and act like clowns". Then there was judge Block who admitted to a campaign to bring the Stones down a notch in dealing a harsh penalty at one of the trials by stating "We did our best, your fellow countrymen, I, and and my fellow magistrates, to cut the Stones down to size, but alas it was not to be...", but then had to protest that he was only being "sarcastic". Indeed - the Sarcastic Judge! Then there's the tale of Mick Jagger's girlfriend Chrissie Shrimpton getting in a cat fight with Beatles fan Ann Richards!

Like Keith Richards, Wyman often quotes other people's accounts, even going so far as to quote people quoting him! An interesting example is:

"Gered Mankowitz, photographer; `Bill was always stone-faced on stage and didn't give very much. He told me why he held the guitar up vertically, like he did. It was to shadow his face from the spotlight so he could see the girls in the front row. I watched him pulling from the stage! He held the guitar almost upright against himself... everybody thought it was very moody and it looked great. But he was pulling the girls at the front - and mouthing his room number at them!'"

It's Wyman's book, why didn't he just say so himself? Weird. He recounts a tale of police brutality in Berlin, with cops armed to the teeth wandering around backstage scrounging drinks. Keith took a half-empty whiskey bottled, urinated in it, shook the mix up, passed it to the cops, who drank it. EWWW!!! Wyman smokes his first joint with Brian Jones and Bob Dylan, who then jam together by candlelight (there was a blackout that night) with Robbie Robertson and Bobby Neuwirth. Wyman calculates in 1965 that in the first two years of the band's history, he'd slept with 278 girls, Brian 130, Mick 30 (among them a mother and her daughter in the same day), Keith six, and faithful Charlie only one (his girlfriend/wife). One time in LA they met two girls they had become acquainted with in Phoenix, they told them to walk into the studio naked for the rest of the band, after which manager Andrew Loog Oldham "grabbed one and pulled her into the control room for `action' in front of everyone." EWWW!!! The band had a lot of fun on another visit to LA: "In the nine days that Brian and I were there, our bungalows were staked out by about fifty girls who stayed outside on the grass, day and night, the whole time. We would take our pick of them, and I finished up sleeping with thirteen girls here." Wyman quotes Mick as saying in June 1966:

"In ten years I hope I'll be an actor and still make the occasional record. It's very unlikely that the Stones will still be going in ten years' time. I've worked out that I'd be fifty in 1984. Horrible, isn't it? Halfway to a hundred. Ugh! I can see myself coming onstage in my invalid carriage with a stick. Then I turn around, wiggle my bottom at the audience and say something like: `now here's an old song you might remember called `Satisfaction'!'"

And that's just how it turned out, isn't is?!? Despite the recording and touring, Wyman highlights his domesticity: "As `Paint It Black' soared effortlessly to the top of the charts on 28 April and Aftermath remained at number one, I was more concerned with the family dog." Wyman lists one of Brian Jones' shopping trips: a mandarin coat, a pink fringed coat, pink velvet cape, a flannel-and-lace jacket, embroidered and velvet jackets, two velvet scarves, four pairs of trousers, two scarves, two strings of bells a blouse, a pink beaded belt and two kimonos (this was in pre-Rush days). Whew!! There's also some article that journalist Richie Yorke wrote in Canada claiming that the Rolling Stones did not write "Satisfaction", that they bought the song from Otis Redding; meanwhile, Wyman ascertains that the song came about before they even met Redding and clears his name with another quote from Redding's backup band. Check out Mick's droll humor: when the record label objected to Beggar's Banquet having a picture of a toilet on it, he said "We really have tried to keep the album within the bounds of good taste. I mean we haven't shown the whole lavatory! That would have been rude. We've only shown the top half!" The first US cover of Beggar's Banquet, which was quickly withdrawn, showed a street demonstration; it has become a rare collector's item. Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger and Ian Stewart played "Snake Drive", "Tribute to Elmore" and "West Coast Idea" for a release called "Blues Anytime, Volume 1'! Wyman wrote in 1991 about the Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, which had been shelved, but which has now finally been released. More domestic affairs: "

"My life in the country at Gedding Hall was calm. Gazing out of the kitchen window on New Year's Day I spotted a big pheasant across the moat. That night, I took pictures of the almost-full moon from the tower. We enjoyed feeding and photographing the ducks. I applied myself for getting the house together for the return later in January of Stephen, who was staying with Diane over Christmas."

A funny anecdote about how Mick Jagger wrote to MC Escher "Dear Maurits..." to request an illustration for an album cover, but was snubbed quite badly.

The book has lots of great pictures - Wyman's parents, a five-year-old Bill, Bill in his RAF uniform, his first wife Diane on their wedding day in 1959, an early publicity still of the Stones in 1963 standing on a ledge, pictures with wife Diane and son Stephen, pics of Keith and Bryan and Charlie at their new homes in the summer of 1966, Andrew Oldham, Allen Klein, Peter Frampton, Jimmy Miller, the Rock `n' Roll Circus, the Beggars Banquet pie throw, court pics, Astrid Lundström, Brian's casket, and finally a new guitarist to replace him - Mick Taylor.

Even the appendices are out of this world! Wyman reproduces eight letters of agreement between Allen Klein and the Rolling Stones signed between July and September 1965, in case there's a lawyer among his fans. There's a list of the Rolling Stones' UK and US singles, album appearances, and full EPs and LPs from 1963 to 1969. A list of awards from 1964 to 1969 (gold discs, silver discs). Then there's a 21-page list of shows, starting with the July 12th 1962 show that the band played with another drummer and bass player. The first show with the full band was on January 11th, 1963. Many days in 1963 they'd play two gigs, but at separate clubs (one show at each). He also lists cancelled shows (such as the June 1969 dates at the Coliseum in Rome), abandoned shows, first shows and last shows as a particular venue's house band, days they played two shows and shows that Brian didn't play due to illness. The schedule was grueling - the 1963 shows alone cover seven pages of this 21-page appendix. Yes, the Rolling Stones paid their dues! Wyman also lists which shows were on package tours with other bands, such as the Everley Brothers (1963), the Ronettes (1964), John Leyton (1964), Inez Foxx (1964), the Spencer Davis Band (1965), the Hollies (1965) and Tina Turner (1965). From September 24th 1965 to October 17th 1965, they played 24 dates in a row with the Spencer Davis Band, two shows each day! The only shows in Asia in the sixties were in Singapore, February 16th 1965 (two shows). The first Toronto gig was April 25th 1965, nearly four years before I was born (they played four nights in Canada in April of that year - Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and London, returning to Montreal and Toronto in October, and playing Vancouver in December). They played Montreal and Toronto again in June, 1966 (6.66), and in July Winnipeg and Vancouver. They'd sometimes play two cities a day, like Ithaca in the afternoon and New York in the evening, meaning that they needed to drive a distance of over 350 kilometers between them. The band only played once in 1968, that was at a New Music Express event. That was the only date between the short 1967 tour that ended in April, before resuming touring again over two years later in July 1969 upon Brian Jones' death and the addition of Mick Taylor to the band.

There's also an appendix of film and television spots, starting with a 1957 ATV show called "Seeing Sport" that features Mick and his father. The band's various TV appearances are on the shows "Thank Your Lucky Stars", "Ready Steady Go!", "Scene at 6:30', "Top of the Pops", "Arthur Haynes Show", "NME Poll-Winners Concert (1964, 1966, 1968), "Top Beat Prom", "Two Go Round", "Open House", "Les Crane Show" (US), "Hollywood Palace Show" (US), "Clay Cole Show" (US), "Juke Box Jury", "Six Ten", "Here Today", "The Man They Call Genius", "Red Skelton Hour (US), "The Ed Sullivan Show", "Glad Rag Ball", "Shindig", "Six Five", a 1965 Rolling Stones special in Australia, "Eamonn Andrews Show", "In The North", "Big Beat 65', "Hollywood a Go-Go" (US), "Shivaree" (US), Shindig" (US), "The World of Jimmy Savile", "Hullabaloo" (US), "Man Alive", "Carl Alan Awards Show", "A Whole Scene Going", "David Frost Show", "Sunday Night at the London Palladium", the "Our World" "All You Need Is Love" show of June 25th 1967, "Time For Blackburn", "Line Up", "Release", "Frost on Saturday", "The Stones In The Park", "A Child of the Sixties, "Ten Years of What", "Pop Go the Sixties". Finally, there's a whole list of radio spots, including a audition for "Jazz Club" that was rejected (it was also done without Bill or Charlie), and a broadcast of Saturday Club that featured Bill, Brian and Charlie backing Bo Diddley (!!!!).
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