R.I.P. Charlie Watts



Hope it’s not caused by COVID. The stupid pandemic has taken so many people’s lives.

Holy crap, that s some bad news in there @PackRat

Thx for sharing, wasn t aware of that.

RIP sir.

Not sure, he had throat cancer, might be that.

From the BBC article:

“one of the greatest drummers of his generation”.

In 2016, Watts was ranked 12th in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest drummers of all time.

If there were ever a list created “100 reasons why lists should be abolished”, Rolling Stone lists would top it. Rolling Stone tops a lot of “List of worst lists”, using them as a reference in any list of accomplishment from a publication that has since lost it’s relevance once the end of the Vietnam War isn’t doing Watts enough of a good turn.

Second, while I understand the statement of “one of the greatest drummers of his generation” is just honoring his passing, to have that in the headline is not recognizing many many other drummers who influenced Watts. Bill Bruford, an English drummer of Watts’ generation, has said in an interview years ago that England is not a “country of drums”, meaning that in the U.K., most of the drummers who came up during the late 50’s though the 60’s were influenced by African-American drummers, from the styles of jazz, blues, Motown, and R&B. Not from bands like The Beach Boys. Bruford, who came up with all the English drummers like Watts from the days of playing in “all the little sweaty clubs” in London is in my opinion and much more accomplished and skilled drummer to Watts, yet I doubt he ranks above Dave Grohl in any Rolling Stone list.

Reading stuff like this over Watt’s passing shows me that people still don’t understand the drums and it’s history. Watt’s body of work is mostly with one band, who was at it’s zenith when Mick Taylor was with the Rolling Stones, and has since rested on those laurels. Not to diminish Watts’ work, but Ringo Starr - who was more maligned than Watts even though Starr was significantly more influential - as well as Ginger Baker are put in the space of “greatest” simply because they played rock music that were part of the “English Invasion”. John Bonham is another. There are more White drummers on top if these lists and considered “the greatest” than there are African-American drummers, and it was an African-American drummer in Baby Dodds who created what is known now as the modern drumkit, as well as the ABC’s of it’s vocabulary.

Watts had a unique style that most people don’t recognize, which is odd because one can see it with every backbeat he plays. He would lift his right hand off the hi-hat to play the backbeat with his left hand on the snare. That was pretty much the extent of Watt’s style of syncopation - syncopation is where drummers establish styles - and not playing both the hi-hat and snare simultaneously on the backbeat gave the music a unique motion. His style may have stemmed from sheer necessity, playing backbeats using the traditional military or “jazz” grip with the left hand playing behind electric guitars back in the 60’s, where drums weren’t amplified may had been the reason why he played backbeats that way at the start (Starr influenced drummers to play in the symmetrical “matched” grip style), but it gave the Rolling Stones a unique sound. The guitars were the style of syncopation, not the drums, and that sort of “chug” when it came to Watts’ time is what Keith Richards fed off of. What’s weird is that it’s not that easy to do, because of the indiscipline of it, drummers normally play both simultaneously in almost all styles. Playing backbeats in that style soft of makes the feel go backwards, then forwards.

The rock, then the roll.

When you come up playing music with a triplet feel, be it in jazz, blues, shuffles, playing backbeats like that in a quarter note feel is kind of genius, if even by accident.

I don’t intend to take anything away from Watts. It’s just as an historian and eternal student of the drums, I want to properly place him in context among his peers, as well as point out what made him unique. Because he was unique. One of the greatest? I think even Watts wouldn’t agree with that, being how much he looked up to his peers.

Well said @drummer .

Also one thing also was that Watts came from a jazz background which shows/showed in his playing, guess that his legacy has to do with his time passed with the Stones themselves.While some showed more on the drums themselves (technically etc), he did what was needed to the song & nothing more.

He also wasn t one of the Stars of the band, he let the space to other members. Naming the singer & lead guitarist.

Also, I bet that he had more people dancing to their songs more than any of the great cats in there.

I just read the news. Very sad indeed. Though I am far from a Stones fan I respect their work. Charlie was rock solid.

R.I.P. Charlie Watts.


Well he may have came from playing jazz in clubs but you don’t hear it in the Stones. For one thing you hardly ever hear him play the ride cymbal, his timekeeping style in the Stone owes more to Chuck Berry and Little Richard than Roy Haynes or Max Roach, and jazz is played more “on top” of the beat than “under” the beat. Watts played more laid back, To make a tune swing, the upbeat has to happen, and in quarter note time using 8th notes as the time feel, it’s the upbeats that make it swing. Watts style to me sounds like it was influenced more by skiffle than jazz. His quarter note style shows that.

Chick Webb, Papa Jo Jones, James Brown and Motown drummers, New Orleans, Cameo, Kool & The Gang, P-Funk, Zydeco, Country, Folk, Latin. Afro-Cuban…

Watts may have made a crowd of people dance at a concert in Madison Square Garden, but he didn’t create a style that people danced to. Sandy Nelson had more teenagers dancing to his records than the Stones back in the 60’s. “Miss You” is their signature disco song, and even that’s too slow to dance to.

I know, but if one listens at him (Watts), which I know you are, it s not the standard 4/4 that loads of top 40 or rock bands normally do.

The thing is that the Stones had longevity which loads of other bands appart from some exceptions will never have .

The great cats in jazz (drummers, which I intended but you took the whole drumming world ! lol) don t make people dance or sell as the Stones do/did, it was more my point here.( Should ve had been clearer there )

Motown (which was a label then & owned by Universal now) ) as a whole did/do very well but it was sold to Universal in 05, so to me even if they still sell allot it s not lasting as the Stones do.

I must say that James Brown had a great long career also as you stated, but wondered which sold more, of which it might be pretty even.

& anyways, bands like these &/or singers wont happen anymore sadly.

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The Rolling Stones aren’t a dance band, saying more people danced to them because they were one of the most successful rock bands is like saying people danced more to Van Halen than they did to George Clinton. The Stones may have been around for several decades, but their last album of original material was released almost 16 years ago. The only songs you hear on the radio are mostly if not exclusively from between 1965 through 1978. I have yet to see a tribute band or any band cover any Stones songs past the “Some Girls” album. Brian Jones, Mick Taylor, hell even Bill Wyman aren’t with the band anymore because of death, kicked out, or retirement. They can replace Watts with Steve Jordan, and no one will give a shit for the upcoming tour because it’s all Jagger and Richards playing “Wild Horses” for the umpteenth time.

Longevity doesn’t mean anything when you peaked creatively in the late 70’s. Unless one considers Emotional Rescue right there with Sticky Fingers.

Donna Summer can go out and sing “Last Dance”, and get people on the dance floor. Then clear it with “Emotional Rescue” comes over the PA.

The thing I was refering to were the stones( Watts) & jazz drummers, now you take the whole industry &/or genres into perspective
I know michael jackson &/or the jackson fives sold loads of albums, elvis & so on, & that american country music make more millionaires than any other styles, not all of them combined I must state). Maybe you think I don t know shit(which I m sure you are) about music .

Anyways who cares, it s just the internet

& I was refering to the stones & jazz drummers which you stated above or such, I never compared the stones to donna summer or the ones alike, where did you see that !

& also, maybe you were writing while I was editing my post or whatever, & didn t read what I wrote but who cares right. I m done with this shit.

Jazz isn’t just be-bop, I mean come on, there is that whole "Jazz Age’ thing, and drummers like baby Dodds played to ballrooms filled with dancers. So did Dave Tough, and even Gene Krupa.

Bob Weir still tours playing “Truckin’” for the umpteenth time and people dance to it.

The Dead didn’t make a shit load of money selling records. They made all their money touring.

Money doesn’t make the art, if it had, then Milli Vanilli would still exist.

I never thought that, what I do feel is that you’re a big fan of the Stones, and that is where you’re coming from. Personally, there is only a certain era of Stones I care to listen to, anything post that era is crap IMO, and if the artists or band’s best work is left way behind them than current, then maybe that’s where they were at their most creative as artists. Maybe someday they have a renaissance, maybe they just release an album of covers to tour on that, but if one has to wait 40+ years for that to happen, if your set list is comprised of songs you recorded 40+ years ago, then it really doesn’t matter how many albums you recorded and sold since, because all the audience wants it to light their smartphones up to “Wild Horses”.

I m not even a stones fanboy, never were, never will, but I respect them for what they accomplished.

Sure, I don’t think anyone would question of how much success they have enjoyed. To me they are just like The Who now, all people want is what you did over 40 years ago. Even Robert Plant said “fuck that” when it came to any Led Zep reunion.

At least Plant came out with another album with Allison Krause a couple of weeks ago.

We have lost a lot of great singers and players over the last year.
RIP Charlie Watts.


This is why Charlie was always the coolest dude in the Stones


Yeah Mick Taylor left the band because both Jagger and Richards were complete drunken and drugged out asshats, and the Taylor era Stones, well let mt list the five albums Taylor contributed to:

  1. Let it Bleed

  2. Sticky Fingers

  3. Exile on Main Street

  4. Goat’s Head Soup

  5. It’s Only Rock and Roll

Just read Taylor’s Wiki:

There is the Brian Jones era Stones, the Mick Taylor era Stones…

and the Ronnie Wood era Stones.

Watts held all that together.