Bill Wyman (1936-
Bill Wyman was the bass guitarist of the famous Rolling Stones band from 1962 to 1993.
He was born William George Perks in Lewisham hospital on 24 October, 1936, one of five children. His early childhood was spent in Sydenham.
He lived at 8 Kenilworth Court on Penge high street for many years and was a pupil at the Beckenham and Penge Grammar school from 1947 to 1953. He was one of only three pupils in a class of fifty-two who had passed the eleven plus for entry to grammar school. He left the school before taking his GCEs, a decision he was not happy with at the time, and took a job working for a bookmaker on the advice of his father William, a bricklayer.
He did national service in the Royal Air Force from 1955 to 1957 and returned to live with his family, now at 60 Blenheim Road.
At the age of eighteen he married Diane in 1959 at Christ Church, Penge. The marriage was not to last but, initially, he and his wife moved into lodgings at Woodbine Grove.
Later they found a ground floor flat at 40 Birkbeck Road, Beckenham.
Wyman started a job at Duponts department store in Penge. He worked as a general manager. By this time he had bought his first electric guitar.
His life was very much focused in and around Penge at this stage and he rehearsed his band, The Cliftons, every Thursday night at the Lord Palmerston pub in Maple Road. His brother Paul used to transport the heavy amplifiers from gig to gig. He was sometimes to be seen in the Art Nash record shop. The first time The Cliftons played on an actual stage was at the Anerley Town Hall for a friend’s wedding reception.
In his early years he was very much influenced by Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis.
He auditioned successfully for the Rolling Stones band as bass guitarist in 1962. He changed his name legally to Bill Wyman in 1964. The band’s first album, one of many, was called The Rolling Stones and was an immediate success. The band became a global phenomenon. In 1974 he released a solo album Monkey Grip.
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He now tours with his own band Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings which has released about four albums so far. He is a celebrated photographer, author of seven books and a composer for film. Passionate about cricket, he is also a dedicated fan of Crystal Palace Football Club.
Bill Wyman has homes in Suffolk and the South of France. While in the South of France he became friends with the legendary artist Maurice Chagall.
In 2016 he was diagnosed with prostrate cancer but has made a full recovery.