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Bill Wyman in The Spectator: "The moment I fell in love with music"
Posted by: slane82 ()
Date: December 21, 2021 14:54

(I've heard that Mick is a Spectator reader so he will probably have seen this)

[www.spectator.co.uk]

"The moment I fell in love with music

I’ve lived in Chelsea for the past 35 years. Since 2002, I’ve photographed everything I find interesting here — churches, streets, door knockers and pub signs, plus two old Chelsea pensioners chatting on a bench with their medal ribbons and rank pinned to their scarlet coats. I’ve recently finished my project and added these 1,800 photographs to the historical research I’ve done about Chelsea, which is now sitting safely on my bookshelf.

My love of photography comes from my Uncle Jack. When he returned home at the war’s end, he had a Leica camera, which he got by trading his cigarette rations with an Italian civilian. He gave me his old Brownie box camera. As a child, I would wander around my local neighbourhood — Penge, in south London — always looking for a quiet, still moment when my subjects were unaware of me taking their photo.

I was born in south London, on the wrong side of the street as they say — dirt poor. By 1940, our family was evacuated to Nottingham, a city where we knew no one and where we were forced to stay with a family of strangers in their home. I talked with a Cockney accent, which made it difficult for me at school. A stranger in a strange land. I played truant, got caught and was put on a train by myself, aged five, to live with my gran back in London. Gran showed me the tools of resilience that would stay with me my whole life. She encouraged me to keep a diary, collect cards that came in the Players Weight cigarette packs that my grandfather smoked, and how to use the tea kettle to steam off the postage stamps that arrived on the letters my mother would write to us. Gran encouraged me to keep these treasures in a safe spot and in chronological order. I kept them in the bedroom that I shared with my grandfather and his disabled friend who lived with us. My need to keep things in order and my inner desire to record history continues today — I keep a diary and have created my own archive with a system that cross references and interlinks all information together; a historical reference for most of my projects.

When the war ended, my family returned to London. Every Christmas, Dad would play the piano as we all sang along and danced. I would watch from my corner while reading the present I received every year, a Rupert Bear annual that us four children would share. The mixture of celebration and joy that music brought into our home stays with me to this day, as do the Rupert Bear annuals that my daughters still buy me every Christmas. Rupert annuals first appeared in 1936, the year I was born, and have been published ever since. I have collected them all.

Music is one of the hardest things to write about. After all, how does one write about falling in love? My gran enrolled me in the church choir and saved up enough money for piano lessons. I studied the clarinet at school, but didn’t really take to it. It was only when I was eight that my love of music really developed after my aunt dragged me along to a dancehall (she was ‘babysitting’ me). In the hot, low-lit, smoked-filled room, I experienced for the first time music vibrating off the walls from a live band. The hall was packed with men dressed in their uniforms, twisting and turning the ladies around doing the Jitterbug. At that moment I knew that I wanted to be in a band when I grew up.

That dream arrived in 1962, when I became a founding member of the Rolling Stones. For 30 years we made some incredible records together and toured the world. In 1993 I hung up my rock’n’roll shoes, became a family man, and pursued other artistic endeavours. In 1997, I decided to get back into music and created the Rhythm Kings, purely for the pleasure of playing again, and enjoyed it for the next 20 years. Unfortunately, the past 18 months have been hard for musicians. My last live gig was in February 2020. The pandemic has been a tough time for everyone. After 32 successful years, my South Kensington restaurant, Sticky Fingers, also had to close.

Loss reminds me how little time we have on this planet. What I tend to do in difficult times is focus on work. Since the first lockdown last year, I’ve finished two historical books and one about growing up during the war. I’ve been able to enjoy time with my family and work on my archive. I have also had the chance to return to metal detecting in the fields and enjoy that connection to nature. And I’ve started to work on another solo music project. Time is a precious gift not to be wasted.

The only thing harder than writing about music is writing about the loss of loved ones. I have lost so many dear friends this year — Terry O’Neill, Mary Wilson, Johnny Gold, Leslie Bricusse, and, of course, dear Charlie Watts. Charlie was my musical partner. People called us ‘the straightest rhythm section in rock’n’roll’. I’m still half expecting him to come knocking on my front door for our usual cup of tea. I miss that knock."



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 2021-12-22 12:35 by bv.

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Posted by: Four Stone Walls ()
Date: December 21, 2021 15:07

Great read.

Thanks.

And thanks Bill.

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Posted by: MisterDDDD ()
Date: December 21, 2021 15:15

Quote
Four Stone Walls
Great read.

Thanks.

And thanks Bill.

smileys with beer

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Posted by: EddieByword ()
Date: December 21, 2021 15:22

Bill: "It was only when I was eight that my love of music really developed after my aunt dragged me along to a dancehall (she was ‘babysitting’ me). In the hot, low-lit, smoked-filled room, I experienced for the first time music vibrating off the walls from a live band".


I know Bill's guitar made my ribcage vibrate in Cardiff 1990 - Tumbling dice if I remember rightly.........

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Posted by: Taylor1 ()
Date: December 21, 2021 15:31

Love Bill. He and Charlie were not the strangest but rocks greatest rhythm section

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Posted by: NICOS ()
Date: December 21, 2021 16:47

Great read

__________________________

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Posted by: RSbestbandever ()
Date: December 21, 2021 17:09

Great read indeed!! Thanks for sharing it. It would be nice so see him get to play at least a few more times with the band.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2021-12-21 17:10 by RSbestbandever.

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Posted by: windmelody ()
Date: December 21, 2021 18:48

A very interesting text!

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Posted by: Four Stone Walls ()
Date: December 21, 2021 20:05

Rather gives away his political leanings .....

The alternative ('rival') review magazine being The New Statesman

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Date: December 21, 2021 20:07

Thank you slane82!

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Posted by: jigsaw69 ()
Date: December 21, 2021 23:19

Thanks Slane82.

Great read. What a life Bill has had !!

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Posted by: RaahenTiikeri ()
Date: December 21, 2021 23:38

The quiet one?

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Posted by: Rockman ()
Date: December 21, 2021 23:44

Lovely words Bill .... quite a life ...



ROCKMAN



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2021-12-22 00:04 by Rockman.

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Posted by: ProfessorWolf ()
Date: December 21, 2021 23:47

thanks that was fun to read

sounds like he's been busy and not ready to retire from playing and making music yet

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Posted by: duke richardson ()
Date: December 22, 2021 03:21

I think he became guarded and very careful, and also very emotionally protective, after being basically rejected by his father.
It’s a triumph for Bill that through his grandmother he discovered the love of music and performance. We just have to be thankful in postwar London, the Stones found each other out of that adversity.

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Posted by: CaptainCorella ()
Date: December 22, 2021 07:39

Quote
Four Stone Walls
Rather gives away his political leanings .....

The alternative ('rival') review magazine being The New Statesman

I think he gave his leanings away when he sat on a stage at a rally given by Mrs Thatcher.

--
Captain Corella
50+ Years a Fan

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Posted by: CaptainCorella ()
Date: December 22, 2021 07:55

Quote
duke richardson
I think he became guarded and very careful, and also very emotionally protective, after being basically rejected by his father.
It’s a triumph for Bill that through his grandmother he discovered the love of music and performance. We just have to be thankful in postwar London, the Stones found each other out of that adversity.

I grew up in London in the 1950's and 1960's and the fact that it was "postwar" didn't really feature that much. Sure, there were bomb sites and reconstruction, but things were not so bad that you could attribute "adversity" to being "postwar".

Without any doubt, being brought up in London DURING the war would have been a very serious thing. This obviously applied to Bill. Charlie was born about same time as the Dunkirk evacuation so he grew up in fairly hard conditions.

By the time Keith was born in 1943 there were far fewer raids and the V1 & V2 missiles were only in 1944 to early 1945 so Keith - whatever he writes - cannot have recalled them directly. But there would have been some privation for the first 10 or so years of his life.

Mick grew up in Dartford which, by UK Govt design probably got more V1 & V2 hits than it deserved, but even so his wealthier parents (than Keith's) would have been better able to cope.

Brian grew up in Cheltenham that was bombed far less, and like Mick, his parents were comfortable.

MacMillan (Tory Prime Minister in the 1950's and early 60's) campaigned with a slogan that "We've Never Had It So Good", and even though he was a Tory he was not totally delusional.

They, plus Stu (probably little action in Pittenween), got together, not as a consequence of "postwar adversity" but through a love of music.

Same as The Beatles.

You can get a VERY good idea of the social circumstances of the time if you watch the "Get Back" movie - skip to the Rooftop Concert and concentrate on the interviews with the people in the street below. Another world.

--
Captain Corella
50+ Years a Fan

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Posted by: Rockman ()
Date: December 22, 2021 08:31

Everybody's life is a story ......



ROCKMAN

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Posted by: juano ()
Date: December 22, 2021 09:29

I wish Bill could find the time to write the next installment of his Stone Alone book. I've been waiting since 1990.

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Posted by: 24FPS ()
Date: December 22, 2021 11:08

Good to hear from him. I was beginning to worry that maybe he was fading, but it's the damn Covid, making all our lives miserable. Such fantastic musicians found each other, and five became one.

Re: Bill Wyman in The Spectator: "The moment I fell in love with music"
Posted by: hickorywind ()
Date: December 22, 2021 12:54

Thanks Slane82 a brilliant read.

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Posted by: deeeskannnie ()
Date: December 22, 2021 14:57

Quote
Taylor1
Love Bill. He and Charlie were not the strangest but rocks greatest rhythm section

He said "straightest", not strangest". thumbs up

Re: Bill Wyman in The Spectator: "The moment I fell in love with music"
Posted by: angee ()
Date: December 22, 2021 18:57

Good read, ty. I would love to hear Bill play, just missed him first time around, and then later on.

~"Love is Strong"~

Re: Bill Wyman in The Spectator: "The moment I fell in love with music"
Posted by: tommycharles ()
Date: December 22, 2021 22:27

The Spec Chrismas issue is always a good read, and it was a nice surprise to find Bill in there this year.

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Posted by: Four Stone Walls ()
Date: December 23, 2021 01:13

Quote
24FPS
Good to hear from him. I was beginning to worry that maybe he was fading, but it's the damn Covid, making all our lives miserable. Such fantastic musicians found each other, and five became one.

But it's not making Bill's love miserable.

Just creative in different areas.

People with interests and creative minds aren't miserable.

Helps to have money, yes. But money alone doesn't buy you .....


Anyway, he'll outlive them all .... maybe not Mick ....

Re: Bill Wyman in the Spectator
Posted by: CaptainCorella ()
Date: December 23, 2021 01:46

Quote
Four Stone Walls
Quote
24FPS
Good to hear from him. I was beginning to worry that maybe he was fading, but it's the damn Covid, making all our lives miserable. Such fantastic musicians found each other, and five became one.

But it's not making Bill's love miserable.

Just creative in different areas.

People with interests and creative minds aren't miserable.

Helps to have money, yes. But money alone doesn't buy you .....


Anyway, he'll outlive them all .... maybe not Mick ....

Autocomplete induced typo?

Should the first line read..

"But it's not making Bill's life miserable."

--
Captain Corella
50+ Years a Fan

Re: Bill Wyman in The Spectator: "The moment I fell in love with music"
Posted by: MisterO ()
Date: December 23, 2021 02:48

It is articles and information like this one that keeps me checking in almost everyday.....Thanks

Re: Bill Wyman in The Spectator: "The moment I fell in love with music"
Posted by: Spud ()
Date: December 23, 2021 11:02

Nice to learn that Charlie had still popped in regularly for a cuppa' and obviously stayed quite close.



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