Charlie Watts: Two Sticks Among The Stones

One of the great drummers of any generation has passed.

Watts leaves behind Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood after more than 50 years behind his kit.

Growing up the son of a truck driver in Wembley with a penchant for jazz and a gift for design, little did he know that the children's book about Charlie Parker he published at such a young age would so beautifully foretell his own greatness despite the humble ode he inscribed in the preface: "This story was compiled by one Charlie to a late and great Charlie."

Through the decades his greatness ramped up like his many unmistakable rhythms, always playing to a slightly different beat as early as the beginning of the 1960s when he turned down the Stones' first invitations to join them.

But despite those first tones of rejection, Jagger persisted and Watts joined the band that took off like a rocket and never cooled down.

Into the 1980s with the Charlie Watts Orchestra, Watts finally reached his penultimate ambitions with the formation of a 32 piece jazz band and parlayed that passion into the Charlie Watts Quintet bringing him full circle in reverential tribute to his sonic muse Charlie Parker. 

A man of ironically quiet solitude, Watts resided in Devon England on his estate seldom venturing out but for touring, instead tending to his wife's horses and their farm. Despite his health and slow down he continued to tour into 2018.

There are few arms more golden, and even fewer who lived such a singularly enviable rock god existence. Yet to Watts, his godliness was just a gift and a love of jazz and percussion that transcended us mere mortals yet lifted us to heights of rarified musical mastery. 

RIP the heartbeat of the Stones - the late and great Charlie.

To relive moments from Watts' career and artistry watch the five part series on TheArchive called The Rolling Stones: Just for the Record.


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