Charles Robert Watts, born in 1941, was an English percussionist who achieved international fame as the drummer for the Rolling Stones. He was one of the band's longest serving members, joining in January 1963 and remaining a member until his death on August 24, 2021.
For this show, there is so much we could cover about his past 50+ years as the consummate "drummer" any musician would admire, however we have chosen to key into 2 aspects of his musical career. So sit back and enjoy the deeper look into this immensely quiet and reserve "rock star".
Although Watts will be ever tied to the Stones, he cited jazz as a major influence on his drumming style. So in the first half of this show we will cover his contributions to the early years of “The World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band,” and in the latter part of the program we will take a look at another side of this famous drummer, one that was nurtured by the likes of Jazz immortals; Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Max Roach and Roy Haynes.
Charlie was THE Rolling Stones' Drummer. He was the perfect, but reluctant foil to the likes of the original group, comprised of Brian Jones, Mick, Keith and Bill Wyman. We say "reluctant", as he initially turned down working with the group, as he claimed he was "not good enough." Nothing could be further from the truth, as it was Watts's consistent focus on substance over flash, and his belief that less was more, that made him the perfect compliment to his cohorts. In fact, it was the simple elegance of his playing style would become his hallmark trait for the next 50+ years.
In the early-nineties when all of the Stones took a shot "doing their own thing", Charlie decided to scratch his "Jazz Itch" and as such he formed several side projects that we will touch on in this show. So in 1991, the Charlie Watts Quintet was formed to pay tribute to Charlie Parker, and through that group he performed many classics from "The Great American Songbook." In addition, after successfully working together on the Stones' Bridges to Babylon album, Watts teamed up with percussionist Jim Keltner to to create a techno/instrumental album called the Charlie Watts/Jim Keltner Project, which featured tracks that were named after their great Jazz heros.
Well, it goes without saying that Charlie Watts was more complicated and “outspoken” in musical terms than people may know. From his vast catalog as a member of the Rolling Stones - hey we didn’t even cover the last 40 years of those efforts here - to his personal indulgences into his Jazz releases, the world has heard more from the man who never sought the limelight from his familiar favorite place; behind the scene, supporting a multitude of musicians and varying musical executions. So as you listen to our show, we hope you will get a fuller vision of the complete personna the total Charlie Watts was.
Come On (1st Stones track ever recorded)
It’s All Over Now (1st Stones "HIT" in the UK)
Last Time (1st Stones "HIT" in the US)
Satisfaction (1st Stones #1 song in the US)
Under My Thumb
Street Fighting Man
Can't You Hear Me Knocking
Long Ago and Far Away
Someday You’ll Be Sorry
Miss You (CUT - see below for full version)
Check out more "Charlie" on these classic videos
"No Cameras Allowed: My Career as an Outlaw Rock and Roll Photographer"
A Conversation with Julian Stone
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