R.I.P. Charlie Watts

There’s something impossible and unfathomable about the Rolling Stones in this period, like DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak if Joltin’ Joe were writing songs about dope sickness and serial killers. Even 50-plus years on, listening to the Stones’ 1968–72 records frequently turns me into Jesse Pinkman, howling to the heavens “they can’t keep getting away with it!” Keith transforms from an ace rhythm guitarist into a full-fledged musical genius; Mick goes from a guy who preferred singing covers to one of the greatest songwriters on earth. Through it all, Charlie remains the center of gravity: On Sticky Fingers, tracks like “Sway,” “I Got the Blues,” and “Moonlight Mile”—songs so audacious in their depth and ambition they would have been inconceivable for this band only a few years earlier—only cohere because Charlie knows just how to pull them together, the perfect part to play, the perfect tempo, the perfect feel.

As I have said throughout this thread, being that Watts is pretty much known for playing with only one band in the Stones, to consider Watts’ contributions in context has to consider the Stones’ most creative and vibrant era. Of course this can be subjective to many, but say if you consider The Beatles debut through their psychedelic era, that’s a very stark evolution. Which also Ringo Starr evolved within.

The Stones were essentially a guitar driven rhythm and blues band, and having a different personality like Mick Taylor in the brings a different creative element overall, and IMO the best era of the Stones. I am not alone in that opinion either, it generally agreed upon even from the author of this article as well as several others.

This is one of the worst of many articles that have been written since Watts’ passing. Charlie Watts is not a jazz drummer. He never was. Many many drummers have started playing in high school jazz bands, college bands, jazz lounges, yet Watts’ recorded body of work doesn’t reflect a jazz musician. Billy Cobham is 77 years old, and has a much greater body of work as an individual musician than Watts has, compare Cobham’s discography to Watts’, and it not even close. What gets me is that white English drummers are more recognized in America than African-American drummers in America. It’s like Watts is more recognized for his style of dress than anything else, maybe that’s why people write of his “jazz background”, but the drummer who helped gave Birth of the Cool was Kenny Clarke, who had more style than Watts in most facets of drumming and style.

This is bad writing, complete slop, written from someone who doesn’t even play. Watts was a very wealthy man for most of his life, he didn’t play nearly as many dates as Cobham has over the past 40 years, there is a huge difference between the scales of tour production as far as money, plus studio dates and clinics, NAMM shows, I mean Watts wasn’t a working drummer, not even on the level of Steve Smith or Steve Gadd. Many a drummer such as Hal Blaine whose body of work is ten times more impressive than Watts have passed. There is another white English drummer who has an even more impressive body of work than Watts in Simon Phillips. Who influenced Phillips? Billy Cobham.