Charlie Watts, the elegant drummer who loved jazz, RnB and Elvis Presley (and didn’t play drums at home for love)

Charlie Watts, the elegant drummer who loved jazz, RnB and Elvis Presley (and didn’t play drums at home for love)
Charlie Watts, the elegant drummer who loved jazz, RnB and Elvis Presley (and didn’t play drums at home for love)

Elegant, quiet and not at all the portrait of the band of Rolling Stones. Charles ‘Charlie’ Robert Watts he was the beloved drummer of one of the most transgressive groups in world music but he appeared little in interviews and above all he had a musical history behind him that led him at first to a completely different place: the jump blues, which would later become the rhythm and blues. In the 50s, not believing that music could become his profession and after having served in Blues Incorporated of Alexis Korner, Charlie worked as a graphic designer for some important London and Danish agencies until his lucky meeting with the Rolling Stones in 1963. Charlie meets Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones and Ian “Stu” Stewart, friend and founder of the band, and ever since he doesn’t leave them anymore, releasing some solo albums but always returning to the fold with each new record.

The passion for music was born in Wembley when he meets the neighbor who will later become one of his closest friends, Dave Green. The latter transmits to him the passion for the jump blues, rhythm and blues, with listening to Miles Davis e John Coltrane to then arrive at the rock & roll of Elvis. As told DrumChannel.com, reported by MusicOff, Charlie admitted that he never studied drums but tried to emulate colleagues and Joe Morello, one of the very few American drummers to have played in the UK. In an interview with Rolling Stone Watts recalled his love for jazz and his approach to the band: “In the beginning, more people came to hear me play than any other band I had been in. The Stones have always had a following, whether it was four girls or four hundred. I was also impressed by Keith and Brian’s (Jones) fanaticism, their absolute dedication to the Chicago blues, to Elmore James, Jimmy Reed and Chuck Berry – he said – They sat all night listening to records over and over again. . Brian wrote protest letters to music magazines. Keith was just as fanatic, even though he didn’t write letters. The word ‘pop’ wasn’t very important in our lives until we saw the Beatles. They weren’t what I wanted to be. We did shows together. They didn’t do much on stage, they didn’t move much. And they didn’t have a great sound. They were not Eric Clapton, i Cream O Jimi Hendrix. But the Beatles were a phenomenon, it was amazing how people looked at them. That was what took hold, more than when John Lennon went ‘la-la-la’ or Paul McCartney shook his head. The effect was surprising ”.

Charlie Watts got married on 14 October 1964 with the painter and sculptress Shirley Ann Shepherd, met before having success with the Stones. They have a daughter, Serafina, born in March 1968. As confirmed by the other members of the band, the drummer has always been faithful to his wife despite the court of numerous fans. Just out of love, Charlie never got there battery in the house: “I can’t play at home so to play drums I have to go on tour, but to go on tour I have to leave home and leave my wife and daughter. It is a vicious circle in which I have been trapped all my life. Every time I go on tour with the Stones thinking it’s the last one and when it’s done I leave the band, ”he reported Virgin Radio citing an interview from 1989.

A few years ago Keith Richards said: “I want to be buried next to Charlie Watts. I think it’s great. The hardest job in a band is that of the drummer. I think I’ve improved as a musician just to be able to play with him, who is a fantastic man. My goal is to become as cool as he is ”. Words that today give more than one emotion.

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