Backstage, black eyes and Bowie: the unseen photos of Bill Wyman

Keith with a black eye given to him by Chuck Berry. 30th June 1981
Keith with a black eye given to him by Chuck Berry. 30th June 1981
(Image: © \u00a9 2016 Bill Wyman Archive (Bill Wyman\/Ripple Productions Ltd))

“I prefer to keep out of the way and capture candid photographs that are un-staged an natural,” says former Rolling Stones bass player Bill Wyman. He’s been a photographer for most of his life, and is celebrating his 80th birthday by staging an exhibition of iconic photographs of the band, many of which are previously unseen. The show runs at Proud Chelsea in London until November 27.

Included in the show are a photograph of Keith Richards, taken at the Rolling Stones office in New York just days after being given a black eye by Chuck Berry. “He’d left his guitar out in his dressing room and I’d just been sitting there and I just picked it up,” says Keith. “And he walks in, “nobody touches that”, bam!! But he didn’t know it was me. It don’t matter. Chuck, you did the right move, I wouldn’t let nobody touch mine either!”

Other photos show Ronnie Wood and David Bowie together after one of Wyman’s solo recording sessions at The Record Plant in Los Angeles, and the Stones backstage before a show in Boulder, Colorado, on the Some Girls tour (see gallery below).

Around the World in 80 Years: Photographs by Bill Wyman is open now at Proud Chelsea in London, and runs until November 27.

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Keith Richards enjoying a shot of Jack Daniels during rehearsals for the 1981 US Tour. North Brookfield, Massachusetts, 6th September 1981

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Keith Richards tuning up, backstage with Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood, before a concert at Folsom Field Arena. Boulder, Colorado, 17th July 1978

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Mick tasting something unpleasant during The Rolling Stones recording sessions at the Compass Point Studios. Nassau, Bahamas, 22nd January 1979

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Backstage at the JFK Stadium. Bill shot this across the stage from behind. Philadelphia, 26th September 1981

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