The Rolling Stones “Rock” Charlie Watts dies at the age of 80

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Charlie Watts update

The backbone of the Rolling Stones, Charlie Watts, died at the age of 80. As one of the most famous drummers in the rock industry, the band’s publicist announced his death. He said that he “departed peacefully in a London hospital” accompanied by his family.

He received treatment for an unspecified illness, which forced him to miss the upcoming Rolling Stones US tour. Earlier this month, he commented with his usual skill and wit: “This time, my timing is a bit wrong.”

Watts has joined the British band since its inception in 1963. His first musical interest was jazz, not blues or R&B like Jazz Mick Jagger and Jazz Keith Richards. In stark contrast to their wild character, he has a calm playing style and a gentleman’s temperament. In the 1960s they were called “Bad Rock Boys”, the “British Invasion” cousins ​​of the Beatles, and Watts maintained a calm and detached temperament during their infamous process.

His playing style is very direct. He disdains playing solo, which is a sign of a more dazzling drummer. “I want to play drums because I am in love with flashes and lights, but it has nothing to do with flattery. It is playing there,” he said.

The history of the band is marked by the difficult relationship between its founders Jagger and Richards. As soft as his drums, Watts was able to maintain a balance between their competing dynamics. In the run-down life and decadent lifestyle that accompanied Stones to the pinnacle of rock and roll, including the death of original guitarist Brian Jones in 1969, Watts managed to maintain his balance.

Although he is not immune to the temptation of narcotics, he avoids addiction. Contrary to the sexual hedonism that was common in rock music in the 1970s, he was with his wife Shirley Ann Shepherd, who married in 1964. She survived with her daughter Seraphina and granddaughter Charlotte.

Charlie Watts (sit in the front row) and the original lineup of the Rolling Stones in 1968 © Paul Popper/Getty Images

The music industry from all over the world pays tribute to them. “God bless Charlie Watts, we will miss you,” Ringo Starr wrote on Twitter, who is the only competitor to the most famous drummer in rock and roll. “Express condolences to Stone,” Sir Paul McCartney said in a video statement. “This is a huge blow to them, because Charlie is a stone.”

In a tweet, Sir Elton John succinctly described him as the “ultimate drummer.”

Watts is the son of a truck driver and housewife, born in London in 1941. Since he was a child, he has been passionate about music, especially jazz. He fell in love with drums after listening to Chico Hamilton and taught himself to play by listening to records of Johnny Dodds, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington and other jazz giants.

After attending the Harrow School of Art, he worked in an advertising agency in London and played drums in his spare time. In the early 1960s, London was the birthplace of the blues and jazz renaissance. Jagger, Richards and Eric Clapton were among the superstars of the future. Watts started his career after collaborating with Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated. Jagger also performed for the company and joined Stones with Korner’s encouragement.

Watts was not a rock fan at first. He remembers that under the guidance of Richards and Jones, he absorbed blues and rock records, especially the music of blues player Jimmy Reid. He said the origins of the band can be traced back to the brief period when he lost his job and rented an apartment with Jagger and Richards because he could live there without rent.

“Keith Richards taught me rock music,” Watts said. “We have nothing to do all day, we will play these records over and over again. I learned to like muddy water. Keith let me know how great Elvis is, until then I hated Elvis.”

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