Rolling Stones Drummer Charlie Watts Was ‘The Heartbeat of Rock ‘N’ Roll’
By DONNA BALANCIA
Tributes from around the music world poured in for Charlie Watts, the beloved drummer for The Rolling Stones who passed away at 80 years old.
Watts, whose unique style behind the kit was influenced by his love of jazz, was the “heartbeat” of The Rolling Stones, the band he loved and with whom he played for 58 years.
Although it had been recently announced Watts would not be joining his bandmates on the rescheduled U.S. “No Filter” tour dates to undergo a medical procedure, the passing of the legendary drummer was a sad surprise to colleagues and to his fans around the world.
Paul McCartney recorded an emotional message, saying he knew Watts was ill but did not know to what extent.
“So sad to hear about Charlie Watts, the Stones drummer, dying,” McCartney said. “He was a lovely guy. I knew he was ill but didn’t know he was this ill. So lots of love to his family, his wife and kids and extended family and condolences to the Stones, it’s a huge blow to them because Charlie was a rock and a fantastic drummer. Steady as a rock. Anyway, so, love you Charlie, always loved you. Beautiful man and great condolences and sympathies to his family.”
Sir Rod Stewart honored Watts, saying he was the drummer to learn from.
“I always told the drummers in my band to listen to Charlie Watts #neverforgotten,” wrote Rod Stewart on social media.
“RIP Charlie Watts, one of the greatest rock drummers ever and a real gentleman,” posted Bryan Adams. “Condolences to his family and the band.”
The world found out on Tuesday of Watts’ passing via a statement from his spokesperson:
“It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts. He passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today surrounded by his family. 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. We kindly request that the privacy of his family band members and close friends is respected at this difficult time.”
Drummer Will Calhoun said Watts brought a special style to the kit, telling an interviewer he had the pleasure to find out more when he met The Rolling Stones kit man in person.
Watts was almost as well-known for his understated and elegant sense of fashion style as he was for his drumming style.
Sir Elton John called Watts the “ultimate drummer” and added a personal touch: “The most stylish of of men, and such brilliant company. My deepest condolences to Shirley, Seraphina and Charlotte. And of course, The Rolling Stones.”
Additional condolences came from many others across the globe including Sheila E., Joe Elliott of Def Leppard, Ringo Starr, Liam Gallagher, Lenny Kravitz, Stewart Copeland, Lenny Kravitz, Rick Astley, Clem Burke and Billy Idol.
Few tributes resonated such as that of Watts’ bandmate, Keith Richards, who posted a simple image that conveyed what words could not.