In 1992, Bill Wyman decided he was done after almost 30 years as a member of the Rolling Stones. The group's founding bassist made it official in December, stating that there would be no more tours and no more records. The search was on to replace this key cog.

Darryl Jones put out the word that he was interested in auditioning. The Chicago-born bass player wasn’t a high-profile musician, but he had spent the last decade backing some of the most respected artists in music. Born in 1961, Jones cut his teeth as part of Miles Davis’s band in the early ’80s. He played in Sting’s “Blue Turtles” band. He had also done session work with an A-list roster of talent, from Herbie Hancock to Madonna to Peter Gabriel.

It also didn’t hurt that he had met Mick Jagger while touring with Sting and became acquainted with Keith Richards because two pals were in his solo band, the X-pensive Winos.

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Jones scored the audition the following June, playing some of the Rolling Stones’ greatest hits with the band in New York. He felt good about the session. So did the late drummer Charlie Watts, who favored playing with Jones again. A few weeks later, he was invited to Ireland to record some of the new material Jagger and Richards were assembling for the band’s next record.

Jones’s bass lines would become part of 1994’s Voodoo Lounge, but his future in the band was not set in, ahem, stone.

One night, as the Rolling Stones were putting the finishing touches on the new album in Los Angeles, Jones was called down to the studio. There he met Richards, who said: “Charlie asked me if we were going to play with you. We’ve auditioned all those guys, chose you to play on the record – I don’t think we’re now gonna go choose someone else.”

Richards went on to tell Jones about the conversation he’d just had with Watts: “Charlie said, ‘Maybe someone should tell him!’ So I’m telling you: you’re gonna go with us.”

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The Fine Print Revealed Something About His New Gig

An official announcement followed on March 18, 1994, as Darryl Jones was introduced as bassist on the Stones’ new album and world tour, set to begin that summer. He went on to take part in every Rolling Stones tour – and most of their albums.

Jones had a particularly close relationship with Watts, who shared a love of jazz with the bassist. "Charlie is a jazz drummer in his heart and in his feel," Richards said in the 2022 documentary, Darryl Jones: In the Blood. "And Darryl, with his jazz influence and background, it was a natural for me."

There’s a bit of fine print in the arrangement. Jones is not a full-fledged member of the group (like Jagger, Richards and Ron Wood). He is reportedly a salaried member on tours, akin to saxophonist Bobby Keys and keyboardist Chuck Leavell – a fact that many Rolling Stones fans remain unhappy about.

"It has not really come up very often," Jones admitted to the BBC in 2016. "Obviously, that would be a really wonderful thing for a person like me. I have been a sideman for more than 30 years now. I think most musicians, somewhere deep down inside, even if they are sidemen or if they are hired players, there is a desire to be in a band. ... But that is not a decision I am in a position to make."

In the meantime, Jones has simply focused on his love of playing with the Rolling Stones.

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