Sad news today as Charlie Watts, drummer for the Rolling Stones, died on August 24 at age 80. Earlier this month the Stones had announced that Watts would not perform on the band's upcoming North American No Filter tour dates due to unannounced medical reasons.
Watts joined the group in 1962 with a line up that included singer Mick Jagger, multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones, guitarist Keith Richards, bassist Bill Wyman.
Born in London, Watts' first love was jazz. His parents bought him a drum kit when he was 14. Early on he played in a band with Alexis Korner, the "founding father" of the British blues scene. Late Stones member Brian Jones, Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton were occasional guest players in the group.
After two decades of legendary recording and touring with the Stones, in the 1980s Watts also put together a 32-piece band called the Charlie Watts Orchestra, giving him a chance to exercise his jazz chops. In the 1990s he also recorded several albums as the Charlie Watts Quintet. They included a tribute album to one his jazz heroes, Charlie Parker.
The Stones recently announced tour will include drummer Steve Jordan in Watts' place. Jordan was part of the house bands for Late Night with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live. The tour is scheduled to start on September 26 in St. Louis, MO.
In 2006 Watts was elected into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame and received numerous other accolades over the years for his skin-pounding prowess. His recorded history with the Stones stretched over 60 years and will remain as a powerful legacy of his consistent ability to lay down a solid groove, with always impeccable meter. He was so much the key to the Stones sound and he will be missed...