Charlie Watts: the calm, brilliant eye of the Rolling Stones’ rock’n’roll storm

  • Thread starter Alexis Petridis
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Alexis Petridis

Unruffled amid excess, personality clashes and musical disputes, the Rolling Stones’ exceptional drummer used technique to deepen the meaning and power of their songs

By any standards, Charlie Watts was an unlikely candidate for rock stardom.

He was quiet, drily funny and unfailingly modest, characteristics theoretically better suited to his initial profession as a graphic designer than the scream-rent world of 60s pop. Furthermore, by his own admission, he didn’t particularly care for rock’n’roll (“I didn’t know anything about it … I used to hate Elvis Presley. Miles Davis – that’s what I considered someone,” he told an interviewer in 1993) and had initially had to have the rhythm and blues so beloved of his bandmates explained to him: “I didn’t know what it was. I thought it meant Charlie Parker, played slow”.

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