Charlie Watts, one of the most recognised and beloved drummers of all time has quietly passed away in a London hospital.
Born during the WWII bombing of London in 1941, Watts became involved in music at a young age listening to jazz on 78rpm records.
He originally took up banjo, but moved to drums when he heard a drummer called Chico Hamilton, who played with American saxophonist, Gerry Mulligan. In fact his first snare drum consisted of putting the body of the banjo on a stand.
Of course the rest is part of R&R history and folk lore. He was invited to play with Blues Incorporated by Alexis Korner, before meeting Brian Jones, Ian “Stu” Stewart, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards and becoming the corner stone of the beat of the Rolling Stones, which he subsequently joined later in 1963.
Along with bassist Bill Wyman, they would provide the brilliant and fundamentally important bottom end of the music of the Stones – the foundation you might say, for all the music that was to come.
In a statement just released his spokesman said- ”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.
The Stones had already announced early in August that Charlie would miss the band’s forthcoming North American leg of its “No Filter” tour because of having undergone a medical procedure for an unknown condition.”
It is unknown whether that condition had any direct connection with his death, as of yet no reason for his passing has been made popular.
Tributes are pouring in right now with Sir Elton writing on Twitter: “A very sad day. Charlie Watts was the ultimate drummer. The most stylish of men, and such brilliant company.”
The Stones successfully survived the departure of original member Brian Jones back in 1969 and subsequently Bill Wyman’s departure. Just what effect the passing of Charlie watts will have is still to be seen.
What is certain is, that the Stones will never quite seem to be the same without Charlie Watts behind the drums.