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21 Years Ago: Bill Wyman Leaves The Rolling Stones

Gareth Cattermole, Getty Images

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been twenty-one years since Bill Wyman walked away from the Rolling Stones. The bassist had reached a point where he wanted to make a change. In a 2008 interview with the U.K. Telegraph he talked about that fateful decision and expressed his frustration with the Stones.

“Playing with the Stones there was always such a lot of pressure,” he said. “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 admits 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 76-year old 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 recently joined his old friends onstage in London as part of their 50th Anniversary Concert.

Next: Top 10 Rolling Stones Bill Wyman Songs

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