Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts dies after tour pull out
During his 60 years with the Rolling Stones, drummer Charlie Watts was universally considered as one of the coolest men in rock, a jazz enthusiast, and a snappy dresser. He was 80 years old at the time.
“We are deeply saddened to report the passing of our dear Charlie Watts. He died quietly in a London hospital earlier today, accompanied by his family,” according to a family spokesperson.
“Charlie was a cherished husband, father, and grandfather and also as a member of The Rolling Stones one of the greatest drummers of his generation.”
The Rolling Stones lineup of Watts, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, and Bill Wyman created an extensive string of massive hit records, making them one of the first British bands to properly break the American market and a symbol of 1960s London. The Stones went on to break records with multi-million-pound global tours that are still going strong today.
Watts played drums on all of the band’s 30 albums and tours until an emergency medical surgery forced him to withdraw from the 13-city “No Filter” US tour set to begin next month.
Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr tweeted, “God bless Charlie Watts, we’re going to miss you man, peace and love to the family, Ringo.”
Watts was born in 1941, during WWII, in the Wembley region of northwest London, and attended Harrow School of Art before working as a graphic artist for an advertising business.
Watts, unlike his bandmates, had already been a member of a successful band before joining the Rolling Stones in 1963. In 1964, he married Shirley Ann Shepherd, with whom he remained until his death the first regular member of the band to die since Jones in 1969.
Watts played in the nights with Blues Incorporated, headed by Alexis Korner and including future Cream bassist Jack Bruce, while working during the day. When he left, he was replaced by Ginger Baker, the future drummer of Cream.
He performed with the Stones for the first time at the Ealing Blues Club in west London, with a six-piece band that featured pianist Ian Stewart, bassist Wyman, and guitarist Jones.
Watts left the hell-raising that defined the Stones in the 1960s and 1970s to the other members, but he was the band’s heartbeat and was regarded as one of the best rock rhythm sections with Wyman.
Elton John said on Twitter that Charlie Watts was the “greatest drummer” and that it was a “very sad day.” “The most fashionable of gentlemen, and such excellent company. Shirley, Seraphina, and Charlotte, please accept my heartfelt sympathy. He went on to address Watts’ wife, daughter, and grandchild, as well as The Rolling Stones.
Watts found time away from the Rolling Stones to play jazz with a variety of groups, including the Charlie Watts Orchestra, a 32-piece band, and to collaborate with pianist Stewart in the band Rocket 88 in the 1980s.
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