Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts dies at 80

Posted on August 24, 2021
Filed Under Culture, Main, Music, People | Leave a Comment

From Bill Mohr’s Koan Kinship blog:

The Rolling Stones were founded almost sixty years ago by Brian Jones, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, and Ian Stewart. Stewart was soon relegated to being their road manager and an occasional sessions musician. The news is breaking that Charlie Watts died in a London hospital earlier today. The original band now has only Richards and Jagger as the remaining members of the band.

Watts’s original musical interest was jazz, and in the 1990s he used the money he made from drumming with the Rolling Stones to form a jazz orchestra. His interest in jazz was long known: his drawings on the back of the album cover of Between the Buttons were the first clue to the breadth of his musical preferences.

Watts’s choices in percussion made significant contributions to the distinctive sound of his bandmates. One only has to listen to the inexhaustible resonance of “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” to hear how Watts’s brief but propulsive solo interlude makes all the difference in how that “Hey Hey Hey” chorus churns the song headlong into the next full verse. Rae Armantrout has written about how much of an impact that song had on her as a young person living in San Diego in the summer of 1965, and I can vouch that it had an equal impact on me in Imperial Beach, when that tiny, working-class city had yet to be cut in half by an annexation to San Diego.

In a recent interview, Watts talked about his refusal to get a “smart” phone and how his steadfast allegiance to a flip phone irritated Jagger because the band’s lead singer and songwriting collaborator wasn’t able to send Watts documents and drawings for immediate approval. For someone still using a flip phone at that point, I felt as if my obstinacy had received a major social endorsement. Thank you, Charlie, for one last gift!

The Stones are set to go on tour, but I suspect that it will be a more melancholy event than even the remaining members of the band anticipate.

R.I.P. Charlie Watts (1941-2021)


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