Happy birthday William George Perks (born 24 October 1936), known professionally as Bill Wyman, is an English musician, record producer, songwriter and singer best known as the bassist for the English rock and roll band the Rolling Stones from 1962 until 1993. Since 1997, he has recorded and toured with his own band, Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings. He has worked producing both records and film, and has scored music for film in movies and television.
Bill Wyman was born as William George Perks, Jr. in Lewisham Hospital in Lewisham, south London, the son of William Perks, a bricklayer, and his wife, Molly (née Jeffery). One of five children, Wyman spent most of his early life living in a terraced house in one of the roughest streets in Sydenham, southeast London. He describes his childhood as "scarred by poverty".
He attended Beckenham and Penge County Grammar School from 1947 to Easter 1953, leaving before the GCE exams after his father found him a job working for a bookmaker and insisted that he take it.
Wyman has kept a journal since he was a child after World War II. It has been useful as an inspiration to him, as an author who has written seven books, which have sold two million copies. Wyman's love of art has additionally led to his proficiency in photography and his photographs have displayed in galleries around the world.
Wyman took piano lessons from age 10 to 13. A year after his marriage on 24 October 1959 to Diane Cory, an 18-year-old bank clerk, he bought a Burns electric guitar for £52 on hire-purchase, but was not satisfied by his progress. He switched to bass guitar after hearing one at a Barron Knights concert. He created a fretless electric bass guitar by removing the frets from a cheap Japanese bass guitar he was reworking and played this in a south London band, the Cliftons, in 1961. He used the stage name Lee (later Bill) Wyman, taking the surname of a friend with whom he had done national service in the Royal Air Force from 1955 to 1957. He legally changed his surname to Wyman in August 1964.
When drummer Tony Chapman told him that a rhythm and blues band called the Rolling Stones needed a bass player, he auditioned and was hired on 7 December 1962 as a successor to Dick Taylor. The band was impressed by his instrument and amplifiers (one of which Wyman built himself), but because he was married, employed, and older, Wyman remained an outsider. Wyman was the oldest member of the group.
Wyman's lack of funds in his early years led him to create and build his own fretless bass guitar. He became an amateur archaeologist and enjoys metal detecting; The Times published a letter about his hobby. He designed and marketed a patented "Bill Wyman signature metal detector", which he has used to find relics in the English countryside dating back to the era of the Roman Empire. As a businessman he owns several establishments, including the famous Sticky Fingers Café, a rock and roll themed bistro serving American cuisine, first opened in 1989 in the Kensington area of London and, later, in two additional locations in Cambridge (now closed) and Manchester.
23rd Oct 1963, Bob Dylan recorded 'The Times They Are A-Changin' at Columbia Recording Studios in New York City. Dylan wrote the song as a deliberate attempt to create an anthem of change for the time, influenced by Irish and Scottish ballads. In January 1984, a young Steve Jobs would recite the second verse of 'The Times They Are a-Changin' during his opening of the 1984 Annual Apple Shareholders Meeting, where he famously unveiled the Macintosh computer for the first time
22nd Oct 1969, Paul McCartney publicly denied rumors that he was dead. The most recent of many "clues" of this Death Hoax was the fact that he was the only barefoot Beatle on the newly released Abbey Road LP cover. The story was actually started as a prank by Fred La Bour, a sports and arts writer for the student paper, The Michigan Daily at the University of Michigan.
22nd Oct 1969, Led Zeppelin II was released on Atlantic Records in the UK. The Jimmy Page produced album which was recorded over six months between four European and three American tours, peaked at No.1 in both the UK and US, going on to sell over 12 million copies in the US alone, (and spending 138 weeks on the UK chart). The album is now recognised by writers and music critics as one of the greatest and most influential rock albums ever recorded.
21st Oct 1965, Bill Black, Elvis Presley's bass player, (1954-57), died four months after receiving surgery to remove a brain tumour, aged 39. With guitarist Scotty Moore, and Elvis Presley on rhythm guitar, Black played on ‘That's All Right (Mama)’, Heartbreak Hotel, ‘Baby Let's Play House’, ‘Mystery Train’, ‘Hound Dog’; ‘Jailhouse Rock’ in the late 1950s. Black, Scotty Moore and drummer D. J. Fontana toured extensively during Presley's early career. After leaving Presley Black formed Bill Black's Combo.
In 1972, Pink Floyd performed a charity show at the Empire Pool (later the Wembley Arena, which still features an Olympic sized swimming pool under the flooring) raising money for three different charities
21st Oct 1976, Keith Moon played his last show with The Who at the end of a North American tour at Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto. On September 7, 1978, Moon died of an overdose of a sedative Heminevrin, that had been prescribed to prevent seizures induced by alcohol withdrawal.
Happy birthday to Tom Petty, born on 20th Oct 1950. American musician, singer and songwriter. He is the frontman of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and was a founding member of the late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys and Mudcrutch. He has also performed under the pseudonyms of Charlie T. Wilbury, Jr. and Muddy Wilbury. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers had the 1977 single 'American Girl', the 1989 UK No.28 single 'I Won't Back Down', and the 1991 UK No.3 album 'Into The Great Wide Open'. With the Traveling Wilburys, the 1988 UK No. 21 single 'Handle With Care'. Petty has also released a string of solo albums, and Throughout his career and has sold over 60 million albums. Do you have a favourite Tom Petty track?