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Looking back on the life story of Charlie Watts, legendary drummer for The Rolling Stones

Charlie Watts was a great drummer and will remain a great person and an idol in the hearts of many people...

Charlie Watts: Life and Career Story in The Rolling Stones, Photos and Facts

Charlie Watts was an outstanding British drummer. International fame came to him as part of The Rolling Stones, and today Watts is included in the list of the hundred greatest drummers of all time! Despite being accepted into the young rock band only a year after it was formed, Watts remained aboard The Stones until his death... Only true fans know that in addition to his career with Rolling Stones, Watts toured with his own band and performed in London at the Ronnie Scott Jazz Club with Charlie Watts. According to the musician himself, it was jazz that had a huge influence on him and influenced his style of drumming ... Unfortunately, Watts is no longer with us: fans remember him as a constantly smiling, bright and very calm person. One could conclude that there were only bright streaks in his life! However ... this does not happen (except in fairy tales). Looking back on the history of life Charlie Watts, the legendary drummer The Rolling Stoneslet's remember what was left behind the scenes ...

Early years

Charlie Watts
Charlie Watts

Charlie Watts little was really interesting ... Except perhaps the Arabian horses that he bred with his wife Shirley on their farm Halsdon Arabians in Devon. However, the biggest place in his heart was occupied by music, and in particular jazz ...

“The first person I heard play was Gerry Mulligan! It was the track "Walking Shoes" with Chico Hamilton on drums... It was this number that influenced me, made me want to play the drums! Before that, I wanted to play alto saxophone because I loved Earl Bostic…” Watts recalled in 2012.

Charlie Watts
Charlie Watts

Charles Robert Watts born at University College Hospital, London, the son of a truck driver Watts and his wife Lillian. Family (including his sister Linda) lived to Wembley, in northwest London, in a prefabricated house. Charlie befriends his neighbor for life Dave Greenwho later became a jazz bassist.

Young Watts (whom his parents christened Charlie Boyem) in 50s obsessed with hard bop and cool jazz. He bought himself a banjo when he was 14, but instead of learning how to play it, he turned it into a snare drum! He received his first drum kit as a Christmas present in 1955 year...

First steps

Charlie Watts
Charlie Watts

His first band was a jazz band Jo Jones All Stars, which he and Green joined in 1958. After graduating from Tyler Croft High School in Kingsbury, Watts attended Harrow School of Art where, as part of an assignment, he drew a 36-page children's book titled "Ode to a High Flying Bird", which told about the life of a saxophonist Charlie Parker. The book was later picked up by a London publisher and printed in 1964 year.

Charlie Watts and Mick Jagger
Charlie Watts and Mick Jagger

After graduating from art college, Watts took a job as a designer at a London advertising agency. Charlie Daniels Studios in 1960 year. While working at the agency, he was passionate about jazz ... Then Alexis Korner invited him to his group Blues Incorporated. It happened in 1962. However, his true path lay hand in hand with Rolling Stones

In the small cycle of the emerging British "blues boom", the future Stones - Jagger and Brian Jones - performed with Korner's band before Jones left. At the same time, Watts' talent was appreciated by everyone! By the way: "rollingam" it took a long time to convince the wary Watts to leave Korner's team and join them. Luckily this happened in January. 1963 of the year!

Climbing Mount Olympus with the Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones

Despite the fact that he became one of the greatest rock and roll players, the unflappable Charlie Watts, who died at the age of 80 years old, spent over 60 years doing his second favorite job… Watts diligently pursued the task of being the rock-steady heartbeat of the Rolling Stones, but he always aspired to play jazz! Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington and Miles Davis were his musical idols, and his playing was inspired by such jazz drummers as Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes and Philly Jo Jones.

Career Watts to the Stones stretched from the cramped clubs of the British blues boom of the early 1960s to the international stadium tours that became their meteoric... famous rock band in the world! However, the group was fully aware of his value to them. Keith Richards, in particular, has often acknowledged how important Watts is to the Stones' sound. The distinct economy of Watts' drumming, both swing and muscular, was characterized by a lack of frills or fuss, allowing the rest of the band to express themselves around her...

Watts, who was trained in graphic design, was also a major contributor to the marketing and presentation of the Stones, which came to the fore as they grew into a global brand and their performances became more and more impressive. He created covers for some of the Stones' early releases and collaborated with Mick Jagger over the design of their elaborate sets for tours such as Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle Tour, Bridges to Babylon, Licks and A Bigger Bang.

Personal life

Charlie Watts and his wife Shirley...
Charlie Watts and his wife Shirley...

Watts watched the Stones' remarkable trajectory from his vantage point at the back of the stage, sometimes allowing himself a mocking smile, but always staying detached from the cavalcade of bawdy themes and spectacular headlines that followed the band around the world... fell into the spotlight if he could avoid it. While Jagger, Jones and Richards were in town in London, Watts quietly married Shirley Shepherd in 1964 year without telling his bandmates, and their relationship remained strong until his death.

Only for a short period in the mid-80s did his natural self-confidence let him down. During recording Dirty work in 1985 year Jagger and Richards were at loggerheads, the group's future looked precarious, and the daughter Charlie, Serafina (born 1968), was expelled from school for the use of illegal substances ... Watts began to drink a bottle a day and, shockingly to everyone who knew him, developed an addiction (no longer alcohol ...)

“Perhaps by the end of 1986, I had reached an all-time low in my personal life and in my relationship with Mick,” he later admitted. “I was crazy about alcohol and drugs ... I became a completely different person, not very good. I almost lost my wife and family and all that…”

Charlie and his wife...
Charlie and his wife...

However, practical Watts imperceptibly weaned himself from bad habits even before his problem became public knowledge. He set about building a family life centered around horses and sheepdogs on a country estate he bought. in Devon.

Some stages of creativity ...

Charlie Watts
Charlie Watts

Charlie is distracted from quarrels Rolling Stones, organizing a Big Band, which included many of the leading British jazz artists. They toured the US and recorded an album Live at Fulham Town Hallreleased in 1986 year. At the beginning 90s he formed Charlie Watts Quintetwith whom he recorded a number of albums, including From One Charlie - tribute to Charlie Parker

Released in 2004 Watts at Scott's, live recording Charlie Wattsrecorded in the club Ronnie Scott in London. The disc came about after it became known that Watts had undergone surgery and radiation therapy for throat cancer. The treatment was successful and the cancer went into remission.

While touring and studio work with the Stones continued, in 2009 Watts began playing with ABC&D from Boogie Woogie - the name comes from the first initials of its members, which were pianists Axel Zwingenberger and Ben Watersand bassist Dave Green. They recorded albums The Magic of Boogie Woogie and Live in Paris.

Finally…

Charlie Watts
Charlie Watts

He was introduced into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with The Stones at the end 80s years, and in 2006 was included in the Hall of Fame magazine Modern Drummer. Shortly before his death, it was reported that he had undergone surgery and that Steve Jordan take his place on the tour US "Stones' No Filter". He has left Shirley, Serafina and granddaughter Charlotte. Charlie Watts was a great drummer and will remain a great person and an idol in the hearts of many people...

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