Updated 30 May 2016
Apart from being a member of the original Rolling Stones, Bill Wyman was a terrific blues bass player as proved on 1971’s ‘London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions’ album, alongside Eric Clapton, Charlie Watts, Ian Stewart (the Stones’ unsung pianist), Stevie Winwood and, of course, Howlin’ Wolf
|The Howlin’ Wolf Sessions LP. A bit blurry but you get the gist|
Others on the album included Phillip Upchurch, Ringo Starr, Klaus Voormann and a host of other famous names. They truly were blues super-groups who took part in those recordings. Even more importantly, the presence of Howlin’ Wolf made the sessions a unique link with the Delta blues pioneer Charlie Patton and those members of the British 1960s blues invasion backing him on the album. (Back in 1930, the young giant, Chester Burnett, as Wolf was known back then, was befriended by the tiny jockey-sized Patton who taught Wolf much what of he’d learnt from his own teacher, Henry Sloan.) In fact, those sessions actually link the first known Delta bluesman from the 1890s (Sloan) with blues musicians still playing today. But I digress.
|That hairy creature in the SM’s driver’s seat is me in 1971|
In 1971, I was road-testing in London, for some magazine or other, the only Citroën Maserati SM in Britain. It was an incredible car. Motoring writers raved about a combination of comfort, sharp handling and braking not available in any other car at the time. Only last year, the upmarket ‘Classic Driver’ magazine called it the most beautiful Maserati ever made.
|Bill in 1975|
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then and now, aged 78, Bill Wyman is selling the car he’s owned for 44 years at the Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale near Chichester, England, on 26 June 2015. (See bottom of page for sale result.)
Bill told Bonhams, who are auctioning the car, “The minute I saw the (Citroën) Maserati, I thought, this is it! It looked so beautiful. They showed me that incredible engine and the double headlights, and I thought, incredible! I fell in love with it.
“From 1971 to 1982, I was living in the South of France and I frequently drove the Maserati from my new home in Venice to Paris, where we recorded the albums ‘Some Girls’, ‘Emotional Rescue’ and ‘Tattoo You’. I’d drive it to Keith Richards’ place, miles away in Cap Ferrat, to record the Exile on Main Street album, and I’d drive to Paris and back, an eight-hour journey each way.”
As is well known, Bill hated flying with a passion. I suspect it was one of the reasons he left the Rolling Stones.
|Bill Wyman with his SM|
As much as the Citroën Maserati SM was lauded by Bill and the world’s motoring critics, the 1973 oil crisis and resultant recession helped Citroën go broke. As well as Bill Wyman, the Citroën Maserati SM had many other famous owners. Fellow Stone Charlie Watts and Carlos Santana had one, Cheech and Chong had one each, not to mention heads of state such as the USSR’s Leonid Brezhnev, Ethiopia’s Haile Selassie and the Shah of Iran. Uganda’s Idi Amin had six.
S T O P P R E S S 30 JUNE 2015
Bill sold his 1971 Citroën Maserati SM for £66,980 (US$95,117) at Bonham’s auction on 26 June while his 1966 Mercedes Benz 250S fetched £20,700 (US$32,769).
“Paul! Thanks for sharing great #Blues info!”
Claire Elizabeth @ClaireAirfy Dallas, USA. 25 May 2015.