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RIP Charlie Watts

Music aficionados — particularly of the rock and roll genre — know just how important the rhythm/percussion section is to the rest of the music. Casual fans may not get it, but we do. The Beatles didn’t really become the Beatles until the found Ringo Starr, and he used to comment about how hard John Lennon would push his percussionist talents to develop those magical songs that became the tail end of their catalog. Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks may have been the front of Fleetwood Mac, but where would they be without Mick Fleetwood? Or the Eagles without Don Henley, or the Doobies without an entire drum section or The Electric Mayhem without Animal? Dave Grohl, Ginger Baker, Keith Moon, John Bonham, and Stewart Copeland immediately come to mind as the heart and soul of their respective bands.

So with that, we say goodbye to Charles Robert Watts. He ranked 12th on Rolling Stone’s list of greatest drummers of all time, although rock critic Robert Christgau called him “rock’s greatest drummer.” He started playing in London clubs in the late 1950’s, but after meeting Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards, he became the only drummer for rock’s most long-lived and perhaps most influential band.

Given the flamboyant image of the Stones, it may come as a surprise that Charlie and Shirley Watts have been married for 56 years. Further, during the Stones’ heyday, Charlie made quite a few “Men’s Best Dressed” lists, and in 2006 Vanity Fair elected Watts to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame. Case in point, in the mid-1980’s, an inebriated Mick Jagger reportedly called Watts’ hotel room in the middle of the night, demanding, “Where’s my drummer?” As the story is told, Watts took the time to shave, put on a suit and tie and freshly polished shoes before going downstairs and punching Jagger in the face, saying, “Never call me your drummer again!”

Charlie Watts was active until just this month, when he announced that he would have to sit out the rest of the Stone’s tour. He died less than three weeks later.

RIP, Charlie. Rock and Roll’s gonna miss you.

Written by johnkilpatrick

August 24, 2021 at 1:51 pm

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