Thursday, May 15, 2014

40 Year Itch: The First Solo Stones Album

Really I had little to gain by doing it. Unless it came out great I was going to get slagged, especially if it was a psuedo-Stones record , like everybody imagined it would be
- Bill Wyman, to Rolling Stone's Andrew Bailey.

Who would have thought the pale and stone faced bassist would be the first of the Rolling Stones to release a solo album? Well, Bill Wyman released the surprisingly un -Stones-like Monkey Grip on May 15, 1974.

  After his band mates suggested he get a top producer and find someone to sing his song, Wyman avoided anyone who had anything to do with the Rolling Stones. His guitarist is Danny Kortchmar, best known for his work on Carly Simon albums. Dr John and Leon Russell appear on the Monkey Grip, as do back up singers Betty Wright, George and Gwen McRae and the New Orleans-based Bonnaroo Horn Section.

The result: a surprisingly joyful and funny album. One of 1974's big surprises...and more near and dear to my heart than the Stones's It's Only Rock 'n Roll.

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