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The Story of Bill Wyman’s Departure From the Rolling Stones

Gareth Cattermole, Getty Images
Gareth Cattermole, Getty Images

After playing with the band for more than 30 years, Bill Wyman walked away from the Rolling Stones in December 1992. The bassist had reached a point where he wanted to make a change due to his frustration with the Stones.

“Playing with the Stones there was always such a lot of pressure,” he told the Telegraph in 2008. “The next album or single always had to be the best, or at least sell more. When we got together to play it was a great moment. Working with Charlie [Watts] was fantastic, and we’re still really close. But when I toured with the Stones it would take a month to practice all these songs we’d been playing for 30 years.”

Wyman admitted his timing in leaving the band may not have been the best and that despite the nice bankroll the band always brought in, he has not been able to live off the royalties. “The big money wasn’t there yet. I had a small nest egg and I can live nicely but I can’t rely on Stones royalties to support me.” he said, adding, “I’m not in the same league as the boys who stayed on. But I wanted to have fun.”

“They didn’t want me to leave,” the rock legend said. “But we get on great now. I had 30 great years with them, then a really nice divorce and corny as it may sound, we are still family.” Of course, you should never say never. Bill Wyman joined his old friends onstage in London as part of their 50th Anniversary Concert in November 2012.

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