On August 24, 2021, we lost a rock legend who holds a very dear place in the hearts of our classic rockers, Charlie Watts. From 1963 to his death in 2021, Charles Robert Watts was an English musician who rose to worldwide fame as The Rolling Stones’ drummer.
Watts was one of the band’s core members alongside lead vocalist Mick Jagger, lead guitarist Keith Richards and bass guitarist Ronnie Wood. Watts was a very influential drummer as he claimed to have based his style off of jazz. The Stones would not have been The Stones without Watts, as Keith reminded the public of this often.
Charlie had an elegant drumming style and a temperament that matched his personality. He dressed sharply and dapperly, which helped to soften the hell-raising mentality of his bandmates. Beautifully crafted suits, with the exception of one large lapel at times, fit him flawlessly. His collars aligned with his jaw and cheekbones. In front of his audience, he exuded a kind of humble splendor. Charlie was not just the drummer. He also designed their record sleeves and tour stages. He had a knack for creativity. He really was somebody who knew who he was when he first entered The Stones and who knew who he was till the very finish.
Charlie didn’t stick out like his comrades, but it doesn’t mean he didn’t make an impression. He always lived his life the way he wanted to. He wasn’t really convinced by the rock-and-roll bravado. Watts carried on with his own appeal and rocked with it. He lived happily and in the past, or, to put it another way, he lived timelessly. This included nearly 60 years of happy and loving devotion to his wife, sculptress Shirley.
It wasn’t all about the music or the shows for Charlie. Watts’ strength of character, a resolute refusal to be anything other than himself, is the secret to his success. Watts, a talented graphic designer, knew when to draw a distinct line, both creatively and professionally. That is what I admire the most about him. He marched to the beat of his own drum, literally.
Rest in peace to a kind soul who has left behind a tremendous, heart-warming legacy. Thank you, Charlie Watts, for all the contributions you’ve made and the people you have inspired. Make sure you play some fo your favorite Stones tracks in his honor. You can’t always get what you want, but when you try sometime, well, you might just find you get what you need. Charlie did just that.