Charlie Watts, 1941 - 2021

Charlie Watts was more than just the drummer for the Rolling Stones. He was a man of many genres. The Rolling Stones, of course, were rooted in Blues music. That was what brought Mick Jagger and Keith Richards together to form the band in the first place.

Charlie Watts worked in advertising at the time and had a degree in artistic design. 

And he loved Jazz music.

Poiseon Bild & Text (press photo by a photographer of the consulting company
Poiseon AG in St. Gallen, Switzerland)), CC BY 2.0 
via Wikimedia Commons
His addition to the Rolling Stones line-up was what gave the band their unique sound. Always on the back beat, Charlie Watts' drum kit was never extensive. Unlike other rock and roll drummers, Charlie kept his equipment simple.

Yet nothing he did was simple.

Charlie Watts was, arguably, the best drummer in rock and roll.

Stones' guitarist Ron Wood said it best in 2003:  “Charlie’s the engine. And we don’t go anywhere without the engine.”

He wasn't your typical rock and roll star, though. He shunned the spotlight.  He avoided groupies and, unlike others in the business, remained faithful to his wife for 57 years.

When he wasn't recording with the Stones, Charlie Watts played what he loved: Jazz music. 

He was also notoriously eccentric. He loved his suits and clothes. He also loved cars---but didn't drive. Sometimes he would be found just sitting in some of the classic cars he collected--going nowhere, but relishing the car itself.

Charlie Watts was 80 years old when he died in London on August 24, 2021.

Over the years, I have grown more in awe of the Rolling Stones. They often call themselves the "Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World."

True or not, it was Charlie Watts, sitting in the back behind a drum kit, that made the Stones who they are.

Below is a special ARC Spotify playlist featuring Charlie Watts -- both with the Stones and on his own.  Plus, a list of articles if you would like to learn more about him.

"Charlie Watts: the calm, brilliant eye of the Rolling Stones’ rock’n’roll storm" by Alexis Petridis via The Guardian

"No One Impressed Charlie Watts, Not Even the Stones" by Rob Sheffield via Rolling Stone

"Charlie Watts: The subtle magnificence of the Rolling Stones' drummer" By Mark Savage via BBC


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