Bill Wyman opens up about his exit from The Rolling Stones – and life since

The Rolling Stones’ legendary bassist Bill Wyman has opened up about his life after leaving the band, and what he is getting up to now. 

Wyman was officially a member of the Stones from 1962 to 1993, but now, with his old bandmates preparing to set off on tour again this week, the 87-year-old has spoken to the Mirror about his surprise decision to leave the band. 

“I left in 1991 but they would not believe me,” he said. “They refused to accept I had left. It was not until 1993, when they were starting to get together to tour in 1994, when they said, ‘You have actually now left, haven’t you?’ And I said, ‘I left two years ago’. They finally accepted it, so they say I left in 1993.”   

Explaining his decision, he added: “I just had enough. It was half my life and I thought, ‘I have got other things I want to do’. I wanted to do archaeology, write books, have photo exhibitions and play charity cricket. I used to read about ancient cultures while I was on the road and take photos as well. I just had this whole other life I wanted to live.” 


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Wyman has spent the last 30 years writing books, hunting for treasure as a metal detectorist, and collecting a range of things, including stamps, music hall posters and, uniquely, Rupert Bear annuals. 

“Growing up in the war we did not have presents. But we had Rupert Bear annuals which we all shared. I used to read them to the younger ones. And then I started to collect them as I was crazy about them. It was ­something that stuck with me. I’ve got the whole series right to the present day and I have other stuff like Rupert scarves, badges, postage stamps. I could fill a museum with it. Maybe one day.” 


Wyman briefly returned on the Stones’ 2023 album ‘Hackney Diamonds’, playing on the fast-paced jam ‘Live By the Sword’. It was his first appearance on a Stones recording since 1991. 

Speaking to NME about having Wyman on the track, alongside the late drummer Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood said: “It was [producer] Andrew Watt’s idea. We had this track with Charlie’s drums on it. None of us were there when Bill actually did his thing. But Andrew said he had so much fun with him. He closed the studio for him.” 

In 2012, Wyman joined the band for their 50th anniversary gigs at London’s O2 Arena, but a year later he said he would “never” do so again, insisting that he had “better things to do”

“The nice thing was that my kids saw me on stage with the Stones,” he said. “They’d asked me the December before, and I had to jam with them for three days. I was under the impression I was going to get really involved, but when it came to it, they only wanted me to do two songs, which was very disappointing.” 


“I’ve always maintained that you can’t go back to things, and they can never be the same. it’s like a school reunion, or Tony Hancock’s Army reunion. If you try to go back and have a relationship with someone, it doesn’t work, and it’s the same musically. It doesn’t work. It was a one-off. Five minutes. OK, never again. No regrets, we’re still great friends.”