Classic Rock News

Paint It, Gray: Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts turns 80 today

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Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts celebrates his 80th birthday today, June 2.

A longtime jazz aficionado, Watts developed a style that fit in well with the blues and rock ‘n’ roll bands of the early-1960s London music scene. After a stint with Alexis Korner‘s group Blues Incorporated, Charlie joined The Stones in January 1963, and has played with the band ever since.

Other than frontman Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards, Charlie is the only member of the band to appear on every Rolling Stones album.

Here’s just a small sampling of the classic Stones hits featuring Watts: “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Paint It, Black,” “Ruby Tuesday,” “Honky Tonk Women,” “Brown Sugar,” “Angie,” “Miss You” and “Start Me Up.”

Watts was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Rolling Stones in 1989. Outside of The Stones, Watts has released albums with various jazz, blues and boogie woogie groups, including Rocket 88, The Charlie Watts Orchestra, The Charlie Watts Quintet, The Charlie Watts Tentet and The ABC&D of Boogie Woogie.

In addition to his drumming skills, Charlie is known for being a stylish dresser who enjoys wearing tasteful suits. In 2006, he was chosen for Vanity Fair‘s International Best Dressed Hall of Fame List.

In a 2008 video interview posted on The Stones’ YouTube channel, Charlie reflected on his drumming style, noting, “My thing, whenever I play, is to make it a dance sound. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a blues or whatever, it should swing and bounce.”

Richards has long been a passionate and vocal fan of Watts’ drumming. In a 2019 interview with U.K. newspaper The Sun, Keith gushed, “He’s absolutely amazing. It’s indescribable to find a drummer like Charlie Watts, exceptionally brilliant.”

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