Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Charlie Watts of The Rolling Stones dead at 80

Drummer Charlie Watts of The Rolling Stones died in a London hospital on August 24 at the age of 80.

"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,” his publicist Bernard Doherty said in a released statement. "Charlie was a cherished husband, father and grandfather and also as a member of The Rolling Stones one of the greatest drummers of his generation. We kindly request that the privacy of his family, band members and close friends is respected at this difficult time."

Watts made headlines earlier this month when it was announced that he would miss the band’s rescheduled No Filter US Tour dates this fall after dealing with a recent medical issue.

“Charlie has had a procedure which was completely successful, but his doctors this week concluded that he now needs proper rest and recuperation,” explained his spokesperson in a statement. “With rehearsals starting in a couple of weeks it’s very disappointing to say the least, but it’s also fair to say no one saw this coming.”

“For once, my timing has been a little off,” joked Watts at the time. “I am working hard to get fully fit but I have today accepted on the advice of the experts that this will take a while. After all the fans’ suffering caused by Covid, I really do not want the many fans who have been holding tickets for this tour to be disappointed by another postponement or cancellation. I have therefore asked my great friend Steve Jordan to stand in for me.”

Jordan has been a longtime associate of The Rolling Stones; he played on the band’s 1986 album, “Dirty Work”, and joined Keith Richards to form The X-Pensive Winos in 1987.

Watts got his first drum kit as a teenager and learned to played along with his beloved jazz records while still in high school; later, upon graduating from art school, he took a job as a graphic designer at an advertising agency while occasionally playing with local bands.

The drummer joined Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated in 1962, the same year he would meet his future bandmates Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones before becoming a Rolling Stone in early 1963.

The band issued their first single – a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Come On” – six months later, which reached No. 21 on the UK charts; a series of singles written by established artists followed, including a version of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” that hit No. 3 in their homeland and served as the lead single from their self-titled debut album upon its release in the spring of 1964.

A streak of three UK chart-toppers – covers of "It's All Over Now" and "Little Red Rooster", and the Jagger/Richards tune, "The Last Time" – set the stage for what would become their signature song and first international hit, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, the following year.

The Rolling Stones would release six albums in their first three years as they matched The Beatles in output, profile and influence in the mid-1960s, with the two forever linked as the UK’s biggest bands of all time.

Watts would continue his appreciation for jazz throughout his career, playing in – and leading – a number of groups and releasing a series of albums in the genre while a member of The Rolling Stones.

Inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1989, The Rolling Stones have reportedly sold more than 200 million albums worldwide.

See also:

The Rolling Stones announce expanded Tattoo You reissues
Charlie Watts to miss The Rolling Stones No Filter US tour
The Rolling Stones announce rescheduled No Filter US tour
The Rolling Stones working on expanded Tattoo You reissue
Search Rolling Stones at hennemusic