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on 16 October 2013
If you want the inside story of the Stones, then you really should read this book, which covers the Jones years, together with Bill's later illustrated history: Rolling with the Stones, which continues the story up to his departure from the group in the nineties.

Bill has a well-deserved reputation for being a precise and meticulous man, so the book is often heavy on detail, some of which is superfluous to the story, which can make it hard going at times, but it is worth persisting with for his insights on the character of the other Stones, the rise and fall of Brian Jones, the ruthless ambition of Andrew Loog Oldham and the relentless greed of the odious Allen Klein.

Personally I found it to be far more revealing than Keith Richard's rambling, self-consciously "cool" memoir and a much more honest account of the rise of the Stones, telling it as it happened.

This is essential reading for any true Stones fan.
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on 6 February 2013
Bought this last year - read it consistently in the run up to Christmas 2012. Recently got interested again in the music of my past, like the Rolling Stones. [I was a fan, and had some personal experiences of thier ealy performances in my neighbourhood, while still at club level.] Bill Wyman kept a diary and video recordings of everything the Stones did while he was with them [There is a list of all their engagements and a full discography, to the date of publication, at the end of the book]. There's also a fascinating account of Bill's early life as an ordinary kid from South East London [Penge] in the post World War II years. That really rings true - I am a contemporary of the younger Stones members.

Later on Bill joined a local band as a part time bass guitar player, but for many years he had held down a regular job. He got married and had a son, before he joined the Stones' band. The gradual change from semi-professional musician to full-time and then big-time performer is well described.

Then follows the inside account of life within a mega-huge touring rock/pop band, with the mayhem, financial disputes and series of sexual conquests that all in the band [except the faithful Charlie Watts] engaged in. There are useful insights in Bill's account of the decline and mysterious demise of Brian Jones, who was at first the band's leader, major 'babe-magnet' and the most musically talented, though later he was eclipsed by Keith Richards, as his memory faded.

This book is a hefty volume - full of often entertaining true dramas, and with a large number of black and white photos of Bill Wyman's youth, his family, and the youthful and later Rolling Stones at work and play. Well worth seeking this book out - not just for rock, pop or R&B fans, but anyone interested in the culture of the period from 1950s/60s to the 1990s in Britain.
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on 1 December 2014
Mr Wyman is that rare thing - a rock star who is a bit of a nerd. He kept diaries and cuttings all through the early years of The Stones and as a result has given us an absorbing glimpse of the underbelly of the music business.

The eldest of six and the target of his father's frustrations, Wyman grew up in poverty with a working-class young man's aspirations to own his own home and all the rest of it. How he went from sharing the family toothbrush in Sydenham and Penge to the high end sex, drugs and madness of The Rolling Stones is the story of the book but it's hardly a glamorous one.

Wyman constantly moans about lack of funds in his bank account and the offhand way in which his own creative efforts are treated by Jagger and Richards. He gets a lot of casual sex (duly itemised in his journals) but we can't say he's exactly happy. The wild adulation of countless obsessed teenagers proves to be a huge nuisance and even a physical danger. He doesn't trust the band's management, whether it's the mercurial Loog Oldham, the crooked Klein or even the disturbed Brian Jones whose early responsibility it was to share out the money, hard though that is to believe.

What is positive is the insight we get into how some of the hits were conceived and that is interesting. Richards' book Keef is rather light on this subject - the nuts and bolts of their huge success. Also intriguing is the closeness between The Stones and The Beatles in the sixties. We all imagined they were deadly rivals when, in truth, they were merely fellow sufferers!

My advice to any reader would be to leave out the first "flash forward" section, which deals with the tawdry Mandy Smith episode, and get into the book at the very start of Wyman's life.
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on 17 May 2016
Maybe not the most fluent account of the period up to the death of Brian Jones but probably the most valuable. Wyman kept detailed records and accumulated documents. So this book has detail and chronology that other accounts lack. Told with great candour it gives a great feel of the early days and records the destruction of Jones. You are left with a picture of Jagger, Richards and Loog Oldham taking over the band as Watts and Wyman watch and concur and Jones goes to pieces. Well worth slogging through some of the repetitious reports of a band on tour.
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on 29 September 2015
This was a really fascinating read. I don't know if he plans to bring it up to date (this was written in about 1990) - I'd certainly want to read the sequel.
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on 7 February 2013
I enjoyed it..well worth a read..Although it's seriously written you can tell Bill Wyman is fun and boy..there were a lot of women!!
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on 22 May 2013
A very informative book, ideal for anyone interested in his life and career. Would make a good present. Arrived well packed.
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on 13 March 2016
Just as described - a little tatty on the outside but the inside as good as stated Didn't make the read any less enjoyable
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on 18 November 2015
excellent book especially if you brought up with the music of the sixties and had so much cracking music to choose from
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on 31 December 2001
Unbelievable as it may sound: Bill Wyman manages to mostly reduce all those wild rock 'n roll years to a list of gigs and names plus endless griping about his financial affairs. No doubt the Stones were robbed blind in those early days by unscrupulous agents and record company excecutives, but a single chapter on the subject would have convinced me as well. The book mainly focuses on the early years, but apart from Bill's confession that he was an almost compulsive womanizer in those days you won't find much juicy information on life behind the stage. And on their musical development and influences little is written that wasn't already widely known. Those of you who want to know in a much more pleasant fashion where Bill is at, surf to Amazon's music section and buy his Rhythm King cd's.
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