Charlie Watts: Rolling Stones drummer dies at 80

Author : asephafid
Publish Date : 2021-08-24 18:43:53


Charlie Watts: Rolling Stones drummer dies at 80

Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, who helped them become one of the greatest bands in rock 'n' roll, has died at the age of 80.

"It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts," a statement said.

It said he was "a cherished husband, father and grandfather" and "one of the greatest drummers of his generation".

Tributes have come from stars including The Beatles' Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Ringo Starr, and Sir Elton John.

Sir Paul described Watts as "a lovely guy" and "a fantastic drummer" who was "steady as a rock".
The subtle, stoic heartbeat of the Stones
By BBC music reporter Mark Savage

Charlie Watts was never the most 
flashy drummer. He wasn't known 
for the frenzied solos of Cream's Ginger Baker, 
or for placing explosives in his kick drum 
like The Who's Keith Moon. Instead, he was the subtle, stoic heartbeat of The Rolling Stones for almost 60 years.

A jazz aficionado, he fell in love with the drums after listening to Chico Hamilton play brushes on Walking Shoes; and was only introduced to the dark arts of rock 'n' roll by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in the early 1960s.

He joined the Stones in 1963 after the band had discarded several other drummers - and they never looked back. "Charlie Watts gives me the freedom to fly on stage," Richards later observed.

His jazz-inflected swing gave the Stones' songs their swagger, pushing and pulling at the groove, creating room for Jagger's lascivious drawl.

He was at his best on the cowbell-driven Honky Tonk Women or the locked-down groove Gimme Shelter (where he even threw in some uncharacteristically showy fills).

On and off the stage, he was quiet and reserved - sticking to the shadows and letting the rest of the band suck up the limelight.

"I've actually never been interested in all that stuff and still am not," he told the San Diego Tribune in 1991. "I don't know what showbiz is and I've never watched MTV. There are people who just play instruments, and I'm pleased to know that I'm one of them."
Other tributes came from The Police drummer Stewart Copeland, who described him as" a unique, iconic drummer (and dancer)", and Duran Duran's sticksman Roger Taylor, who said "his simple style was a lesson to us all".
The Sex Pistols' Glen Matlock said Watts "kept the beat to the soundtrack of our lives", while Nile Rodgers wrote: "Thanks for all the great music."

Singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading wrote: "Why am I crying? Because Charlie Watts has died. Who knew that any of the Rolling Stones musicians would ever leave this earth."

Joan Jett described him as "the most elegant and dignified drummer in rock and roll" who "played exactly what was needed - no more - no less".

BBC 6 Music presenter and former Kenickie frontwomanLauren Laverne wrote: "Nobody has ever been cooler than #charliewatts, have they? And he was kind to my band when we were daft teenagers completely out of our depth."

Fellow singer Curtis Stigers said : "My mom always claimed I was conceived during the chorus of Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones. Thank you, Charlie Watts. I owe you my life."
The statement from the Rolling Stones' publicist said: "He passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today [Tuesday] surrounded by his family.

"We kindly request that the privacy of his family, band members and close friends is respected at this difficult time."

In 2016, Watts was ranked 12th in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 greatest drummers of all time.

He is survived by his wife Shirley, daughter Seraphina and granddaughter Charlotte.
Drummer Charlie Watts, who has died at 80, provided the foundation which underpinned the music of the Rolling Stones.

The band became a by-word for rock and roll excess but for Watts, playing with the Stones did not become the ego trip that drove Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

A jazz aficionado, Watts vied with Bill Wyman for the title of least charismatic member of the band; he eschewed the limelight and rarely gave interviews

And he famously described life with the Stones as five years of playing, 20 years of hanging around.

Charles Robert Watts was born on 2 June 1941 at the University College Hospital in London and raised in Kingsbury, now part of the London Borough of Brent.

He came from a working-class background. His father was a lorry driver and Watts was brought up in a pre-fabricated house to which the family had moved after German bombs destroyed hundreds of houses in the area.

A childhood friend once described how Watts had an early interest in jazz and recalled listening to 78s in Charlie's bedroom by artists such as Jelly Roll Morton and Charlie Parker.


At school he developed an interest in and a talent for art and he went on to study at Harrow Art School before finding a job as a graphic designer with a local advertising agency.

But his love of music continued to be the dominating force in his life. His parents bought him a drum kit when he was 13 and he played along to his collection of jazz records.

He began drumming in local clubs and pubs and, in 1961 was heard by Alexis Korner who offered him a job in his band, Blues Incorporated, an outfit that became a vital part of the development of British rock music.

Also playing with Blues Incorporated was a guitarist named Brian Jones who introduced Watts to the fledgling Rolling Stones whose original drummer, Tony Chapman, had quit the band

'Mick Jagger's bum'
The result of that meeting according to Watts was "four decades of seeing Mick's bum running around in front of me."

Watt's skill and experience was invaluable. Together with Bill Wyman he provided a counterpoint to the guitars of Richards and Jones and the preening performance of Mick Jagger.

Early Stone's concerts often descended into mayhem as eager female fans climbed onto the stage to embrace their heroes. Watts often found himself trying to maintain a beat with a couple of girls hanging on to his arms



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