Bill Wyman Recalls ‘Unusual’ Collaboration for ‘Ruby Tuesday’
When the Rolling Stones decided they wanted 1966 track “Ruby Tuesday” to have a classical feel, then-bassist Bill Wyman was faced with the challenge of playing an instrument he couldn’t comfortably manage.
The result, as he told Uncle Joe Benson on the Ultimate Classic Rock Nights radio show, was to share the duties with bandmate Keith Richards, in what turned out to be one of the band’s more unusual experiments.
“It’s a double bass with a bow, but I’ve got small hands and I can’t play a regular double bass,” Wyman said. “I did it a bit on things like ‘Factory Girl’ and things like that; I’ve played a double bass on very simple fingering.”
When it came to “Ruby Tuesday,” he admitted he “wasn’t good enough” to perform both the left and right hand tasks. “So Keith said, you finger the notes and I’ll do the bow,” he recalled. “He was drawing, and I was doing the fingering, and i could focus on it and get the right notes.”
He continued, “There was a lot of collaboration like that in the ‘60s with all those songs, you know. Brian [Jones] doing special things… you just experimented and came up with something, and [‘Ruby Tuesday’] was one of the things. But it was quite an unusual one.”
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