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Bill Wyman (Expanded Version)

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Album Review

Bill Wyman's self-titled 1981 album was further removed from the sound of the Rolling Stones than his two 1970s LP had been, but if anything, it benefited from the distance. Much of the material on those '70s records had sounded like workmanlike R&B/pop pastiches, albeit with a wry if scattershot sense of humor. Here Wyman seemed more like his own man, both as a songwriter and as a singer — he was never going to be a vocalist of distinction, but here he sounds far more comfortable with his voice and its limitations. The fluke novelty hit "(Si, Si) Je Suis un Rock Star" is the most famous track by far, of course, but much of the rest is surprisingly palatable pop/rock that incorporates early-'80s new wave production touches without sounding strained. The droll humor, similarly, is more engaging and unforced than on his previous work, although he manages some accomplished smooth romantic pop tunes like "Ride on Baby" (no relation to the Rolling Stones '60s song of the same name) and "Rio de Janeiro" as well. The historical liner notes on the 2006 expanded Castle CD are welcome, but the four bonus tracks don't really add much, those being "single edits" of "Rio de Janeiro," "Come Back Suzanne," "Visions," and "(Si, Si) Je Suis un Rock Star."

Customer Reviews

Underappreciated Classic

While the Who's John Entwistle always managed to get a small showcase from the rest of the band from time to time, the Rolling Stone bassist was pretty much ignored creatively. It is indeed a loss for the iconic group. On this album, Wyman shows himself to be a wry, savvy craftsman of very infectious pop tunes. It is a bit of a departure from Bill's two previous solo efforts, which were more New Orleans bluesy wine n' women ditties. Here he explores a more New Wave direction. The signiture is the famous leer-fest Je Suis en Rock Star, but Come Back, Suzanne is an excellent upbeat rocker. A New Fashion is a hit that should have been, and Rio de Janeiro weaves a lovely atmospheric picture. Well worth a listen.


Born: October 24, 1936 in Lewisham, London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

As a member of the Rolling Stones for three decades, Bill Wyman established himself among the greatest bassists in rock & roll history; in tandem with drummer Charlie Watts, he belonged to one of the most stalwart rhythm sections in popular music, perfectly complementing the theatrics of Mick Jagger and the gritty guitar leads of Keith Richards. Born William Perks in London on October 24, 1936, Wyman was playing in a group called the Cliftons when he was asked to join the Stones in mid-1962, replacing...
Full Bio
Bill Wyman (Expanded Version), Bill Wyman
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