Let me make one thing clear: I have great admiration for Bill Wyman’s bass playing. Although I’ve been a Rolling Stones fan since I was 13, I’ve only recently come around to appreciating how he plays. He’s perfect for the band. With two guitarists and a highly theatrical lead singer, Bill really had to be someone who can play relatively stripped down grooves. He was the calm center of the hurricane that is the Stones.
But I have to say that I’m a big fan of Keith Richards the bassist. His style is more melodic – It’s closer to the bass lines I usually enjoy.
If people do know that Keith played bass on any of the Stones songs, they probably know about “Sympathy for the Devil.” In my opinion, it’s one of the really iconic rock & roll bass lines.
I knew that Keith played on that and also on “Live With Me.” It wasn’t until I started writing this post that I learned he’s played bass on a lot of Stones songs, like “Street Fighting Man,” “2000 Light Years From Home,” and “Happy,” which of course he also sings.
Another song he both sings and plays bass on is “Before They Make Me Run” on Some Girls.
I heard that someone once asked Keith why he didn’t sing lead on more songs. He replied: “What the hell would Mick do?” I have a feeling that it’s the same deal with Bill Wyman, or more recently, Darryl Jones. Nevertheless, it would be fun to hear Keith do more bass playing on future projects, whether it’s Stones stuff or solo work.
Image by Corrie Barklimore. Creative Commons license 2.0.