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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Drummer Charlie Watts, whose adept, powerful skin work propelled the Rolling Stones for more than half a century, died in London on Tuesday morning, according to his spokesperson. No cause of death was cited; he was 80.



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A statement from the band and Watts' spokesperson reads: "It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts. He passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today surrounded by his family.

"Charlie was a cherished husband, father and grandfather and also a member of the Rolling Stones one of the greatest drummers of his generation."

Universally recognized as one of the greatest rock drummers of all time, Watts and guitarist Keith Richards have been the core of the Rolling Stones' instrumental sound: Richards spends upwards of half the group's concerts turned around, facing Watts, bobbing his head to the drummer's rhythm. A 2012 review of a Rolling Stones concert reads in part:

"For all of Mick and Keith's supremacy, there's no question that the heart of this band is and will always be Watts: At 71, his whipcrack snare and preternatural sense of swing drive the songs with peerless authority, and define the contradictory uptight-laid-back-ness that's at the heart of the Stones' rhythm." Watts was never a flashy drummer, but driving the beat for "The World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band" for a two-hour set " in a stadium, no less " is an act of great physical endurance that Watts performed until he was 78."

Drum in Peace, Charlie.

#1 | Posted by Corky at 2021-08-24 01:54 PM | Reply

One of Mr Watts' techniques I enjoyed was what was called a flexible beat, i.e., purposefully not keeping a perfect tempo, but letting it wander just a bit. Others tried it, but could not do it well, and they sounded off-tempo. Mr Watts had it down pat, just enough to draw interest, but not enough to sound off-tempo.

R.I.P. Charlie Watts

The Rolling Stones - Not Fade Away (TV 1964)

#2 | Posted by LampLighter at 2021-08-24 01:56 PM | Reply

RIP. He was one of the greats.

#3 | Posted by snoofy at 2021-08-24 01:58 PM | Reply

Charlie's Drums... and interview:

Charlie Watts - Monkey Man

#4 | Posted by Corky at 2021-08-24 01:59 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Thoroughly fitting that this will be the last Stones album. Really, it's Charlie's record.

#5 | Posted by morris at 2021-08-24 03:21 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

He made it look so darn easy and seemed a genuinely decent bloke. RIP.

#6 | Posted by Doc_Sarvis at 2021-08-24 03:35 PM | Reply

A sad day. RIP sir.

#7 | Posted by a_monson at 2021-08-24 03:39 PM | Reply

It was inevitable.
We all must go.
Thank you, Charlie.
Thank you so very much.

#8 | Posted by YAV at 2021-08-24 03:39 PM | Reply

- genuinely decent bloke

Turns out he was a generally well-dressed, proper English gentleman, raised Arabian horses, and collected antique automobiles.

#9 | Posted by Corky at 2021-08-24 04:00 PM | Reply

His style was so simple and rock steady, driving the band.

I only saw the Stones once when they still played 10,000 seat arenas. A memorable concert.


#10 | Posted by AMERICANUNITY at 2021-08-24 04:04 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

It really is all over now. He and Ringo played the drumbeat of my youth.

RIP the coolest guy in Rock 'n' Roll.

#11 | Posted by uncle_meat at 2021-08-24 04:09 PM | Reply

Wow! What a moment in history. I remember seeing the Rolling Stones, for my first time, on the Ed Sullivan show. It was a few months after the Beatles had been on. The Stones made the Beatles look like choir boys. That was a real moment when we first experienced them. They were a new breed, unlike anything we had ever seen before. Rude, unkempt, completely disdainful of virtually everything. And we loved them so much! Still do! Good bye Charlie, I will honestly miss you. RIP. A Stone passing is something that truly makes me feel old but grateful that I was alive to see them live in the Orange Bowl, in Miami. They put on a great show even though they were already pretty damned old. Probably my favorite band of all time.

#12 | Posted by danni at 2021-08-24 04:33 PM | Reply

If he did the drum pounding for Paint It Black I really wish I could have thanked him.

#13 | Posted by Tor at 2021-08-24 04:43 PM | Reply

And so it begins.

#14 | Posted by sentinel at 2021-08-24 04:51 PM | Reply

The reality is that most of our favorites in acting, music, everything else are dying as are we too. Our entire generation is getting old and I hate it bult it's still better than the alternative. Within 20 years we will all be gone and, honestly, that scares the hell out of me because I'm not sure the generation we leave behind is capable of handling everything they will need to but, I'm pretty sure my parents, and their parents before them had the same fears but here we are, still surviving, still growing, still prospering.
I honestly think that having faith in the generations following our own is probably the best relaxation technique, we have no way to control what they do but we can have faith that they will do mostly the right things.
That is all we can hope for.
It actually does help me sleep at night. I don't have to be in charge any more and my kids and your kids are doing a pretty good job of managing what we leave behind.

#15 | Posted by danni at 2021-08-24 05:13 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

One night, after a conversation about breaking up the Stones, a drunken Mick Jagger asked, Wheres Charlie?' After being told that Charlie was in his hotel room and that it was too late at night to call, Jagger picked up the phone and called Charlie's room. Where's my drummer?' Jagger barked. Watts slammed down the phone. He got up, clicked off the TV, got dressed, and stormed down the hotel hallway to Jaggers's room. After Watts pounded on the door, Jagger opened it and immediately got punched in the jaw, and fell backward over a platter of smoked salmon on a table. I'm not your drummer,' said Watts. You're my ------- singer.'

Rock and Roll. RIP

#16 | Posted by lee_the_agent at 2021-08-24 05:54 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Saw them in 1975 at the Forum down the aisle from Linda Ronstadt. RIP.

#17 | Posted by LegallyYourDead at 2021-08-24 05:55 PM | Reply

A good rock drummer, but not of the first rank (which I reserve for Keith Moon, Neil Purt and Ginger Baker, and not in that order). RIP...

#18 | Posted by catdog at 2021-08-24 06:32 PM | Reply

- I only saw the Stones once

Same here. At the Convention Center in Ft Worth in 1972. They were great, but Stevie Wonder opened for them and following Stevie Wonder is not an easy job no matter who you are. He was led to almost every instrument on the stage and blew us away on all of them.

Here's the RS set list for that show:

#19 | Posted by Corky at 2021-08-24 08:19 PM | Reply

I saw them for the first time 2 years ago. Actually one of the best shows I've seen. Their sound system is so crisp and clear and loud. Kick myself in the ass for the times I missed them.

#20 | Posted by bruceaz at 2021-08-24 08:28 PM | Reply


I live a ways from the Rose Bowl and I could hear "Satisfaction" clear as a bell.

#21 | Posted by LegallyYourDead at 2021-08-24 08:56 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

If you older chaps want to hear the Stones
again, in something of a new light, call up
the 'Fat Boy Slim remix of the Stones,
"Sympathy for the Devil"' on Youtube, and watch a young Mick and the Stones rock out at the height of their power...

Ever since I was just a young little squirt (born in '67), I will never forget riding around in my older sister's Orange VW Beetle, singing to the Stones, to the Beatles, to the Mommas & the Poppas, Simon & Garfunkle, the Beach Boys, all the greats, all summer long... It lives in my childhood memory like the snow suspended in a snow globe, sparkling and magical. There was no other time like it, and there never will be again...

RIP Charlie, you played on helluva long set.
You've earned your rest.

#22 | Posted by earthmuse at 2021-08-24 09:21 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Get Off Of My Cloud blaring out of the dash speaker of the Dodge Dart on KXOK when AM was king.

#23 | Posted by LesWit at 2021-08-24 10:26 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Sir Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have paid tribute to their bandmate Charlie Watts, following the death of the Rolling Stones drummer.

Beatles Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Ringo Starr were among the other stars from the world of rock to remember Watts.

Sir Paul described Watts as "a lovely guy" and "a fantastic drummer" who was "steady as a rock", while Fab Four drummer Sir Ringo said on Twitter: "God bless Charlie Watts we're going to miss you man".

Sir Elton John wrote on Twitter: "A very sad day. Charlie Watts was the ultimate drummer. The most stylish of men, and such brilliant company."

The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson said he was "shocked" to hear the news about Watts, who he described as "a great drummer".

The Who frontman Roger Daltrey said Watts was the "perfect gentleman, as sharp in his manner of dress as he was on the drums".

And drummer Kenney Jones, who played with The Who and the Small Faces told the BBC Watts was the "heart and soul of The Rolling Stones".

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."

#24 | Posted by Corky at 2021-08-24 11:34 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

Amazing that he lasted so long. So many drummers die young and if they make it into their middle ages they have a host of medical issues.

#25 | Posted by pumpkinhead at 2021-08-25 12:10 PM | Reply

What I liked most about Charlie Watts was his ability to make complicated drum riffs look easy. Anybody trying to emulate his relaxed-appearing style soon found out otherwise! Loved you, Charlie; depart in peace.

#26 | Posted by john47 at 2021-08-26 12:28 PM | Reply

In the early Seventies, freshly home from the war, I belonged to the Campus Veterans Club. One of our favorite bars featured an upstairs balcony area with tables and chairs overlooking the stage. The band was covering "Sympathy For The Devil," and when they got to the "whoo-whoo" chorus, we all joined them...really, really loudly. The band stopped playing, and they were pointing up at us, shouting for us to STFU! Too funny!

#27 | Posted by john47 at 2021-08-26 12:34 PM | Reply

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