Originally trained as a graphic artist, Charlie started playing drums in London’s rhythm and blues clubs, where he met Brian Jones, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. In January 1963, he joined their fledgling group, the Rolling Stones, as drummer, while doubling as designer of their record sleeves and tour stages.
Charlie, Mick and Keith were the only band members to have been featured on all of their studio albums. He cited jazz as a major influence on his drumming style. He toured with his own group, the Charlie Watts Quintet, and appeared in London at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club with the Charlie Watts Tentet.
In 2006 Watts was elected into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame and, in the same year, Vanity Fair elected him into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame.
In the estimation of noted music critic Robert Christgau, Charlie was “rock’s greatest drummer.” In 2016, he was ranked 12th on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Drummers of All Time” list.
RIP Charlie Watts (2 June 1941 – 24 August 2021)