Charlie Watts - the very real Rolling Stone : This Ace drummer 80, still enjoys making music.

Several years ago, Rolling Stone's drummer Charlie Watts told The Guardian that he wouldn't mind if the band called it a day now, as long as it was ''amicably.''

He said, ''I love playing the drums and I love playing with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Ronnie Wood. I don't know about the rest of it. It wouldn't bother me if the Rolling Stones said, ''That's it. Enough.''

After all, Watts has been playing with the band for nearly six decades and turned 80 earlier this month. At some point, you have to think about when you are going to retire. On the other hand, he had added, '' I don't know what I would do if I stopped though.''

Without Watts as a calming influence among rock n'roll long-serving band, the Rolling Stones would probably no longer exist. His diplomatic tact has often helped bring the hot-tempered, quarrelsome Jagger and Richards to their senses.

It is due to this that the Rolling Stone are still together and ready to hit the road again once the pandemic subsided, with their 2020 tour having been postponed. As Richards once said, ''There couldn't be Rolling Stones without Charlie Watts.''

Richards drafts Watts into Stones

Charles ''Charlie'' Robert Watts was born in Kingsbury, now a district of London, in 1941. The son of a truck driver studied art and graphics and joined Alexis Korner's band Blues incorporated as a drummer.

The loose blues collective also included singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Brian Jones and Keith Richards, who all dropped out of the band to form the Rolling Stones in 1962.

Just one year later, Watts quit his job as a graphic artist when Richards insisted he play drums in the new band and he has been keeping metronomic time for the legendary rockers ever since.

With typical understatement, the musician has been the overlooked man in the background, letting his bandmates take center-stage.

''Charlie Watts gives me the freedom to fly on stage,'' Richards once said of the taciturn drummer with perfect timing.

While most rock stars tend to make headlines for their erratic lifestyles, Watts has been happily married to Shirley Ann Shepherd since 1964. He overcame his alcohol and drug addiction back in the 1980s and famously disliked touring.

''I hate leaving home,'' he once said. '' I love what I do but I'd love to go home in every night.''

Today, he and his wife live a secluded life in the country, where Watts breeds Arabian horses.

Not your typical rock 'n' roller.

Watts contrasts  pretty much every image the Rolling Stones evokes. Rather than wearing jeans, he prefers suits. He loves jazz music, citing it as a major influence on his drumming style - yet exactly the kind of music the Stones rebelled against at the beginning of their careers.

And he is modest, having said he feels embarrassed when receiving minutes long standing ovations. Together with the Stones, Watts was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.

Rolling Stones magazine also put the time-keeper in 12th place on its list of the best drummers of all time.

Through near six decades with the Rolling Stones, Watts has remained skeptical of Fame.

In the end, he  only wants one thing : to make music. ''It's been years and years and years I've been playing the drums and they're still a challenge. I still enjoy using the drumsticks and a snare drum,'' he once said. [DW]


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