The Rolling Stones need no introduction. One of the greatest bands of all time, they transformed the music scene with their gritty, uncompromising rock music. It is therefore no surprise that when the death of their much beloved drummer Charlie Watts was announced late this August, tributes poured in to celebrate his musical legacy.
Watts was one of the more understated players within the Rolling Stones, but this certainly doesn’t mean that his integral role in creating the band’s rebellious sound should be downplayed. Oh no, Charlie Watts’ drumming kept the beat to some of the most iconic songs of all time. Pete Townshend, lead guitarist of The Who, described in his tribute to Watts that he had never “enjoyed playing with a drummer quite so much” and that his style could only be described as, in true rock and roll fashion, “super-cool”.
In his personal life, Watts was a lover of clothes, horses, jazz, cars (despite him ironically not being able to drive) and Agatha Christie, owning a signed copy of every paperback she had ever written. He refused to be confined to the crazy Rock n Roll image many associate with the Rolling Stones. In fact, he was a lover of home comforts and maybe surprisingly, quiet. He found peace in the countryside where he lived, away from the madness of tours. In fact, he even once commented that despite loving his job and getting to play music to thousands of fans, he’d “love to go home every night”. His attitude was refreshing – he made no attempt to hide his dislike for certain aspects of being in a band like the Rolling Stones. Many would agree that his no-nonsense attitude only adds to the “super-cool” memory many keep of him.
Undeniably, Charlie Watts will remain a huge inspiration for musicians far beyond the six decades that he was in the public eye. A true musical hero, he will be greatly missed.