Charlie Watts Turns 75 Today
Since shortly after their inception in 1962, Charlie Watts has steadily provided the heartbeat of the Rolling Stones for over fifty years.
Watts’ parents gave him his first drum kit in 1955; he was interested in jazz, and would practice drumming along with jazz records he collected. After completing secondary school, he enrolled at Harrow Art School which he attended until 1960. After leaving school, Watts worked as a graphic designer for an advertising company called Charlie Daniels Studios, and also played drums occasionally with local bands in coffee shops and clubs. In 1961 he met Alexis Korner, who invited him to join his band, Blues Incorporated. At that time Watts was on his way to a sojourn working as a graphic designer in Denmark, but he accepted Korner’s offer when he returned to London in February 1962.
Watts played regularly with Blues Incorporated and maintained a job with another advertising firm of Charles, Hobson and Grey. It was in mid-1962 that Watts first met Brian Jones, Ian “Stu” Stewart, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards, who also frequented the London rhythm and blues clubs, but it was not until January 1963 that Watts finally agreed to join The Rolling Stones. (Wikipedia)
‘Get Off of My Cloud’
Watts totally dominates the Stones’ second No. 1 single, which features one of the most unconventional drum structures ever employed in a Top 40 hit. (UCR)
The menacing opening guitar lick signals a brewing storm, but it’s Watts’ monster drum drops that bring the thunder. And just as soon as he makes his booming entrance, he settles in for the rest of the song, riding the torrent like a master of the wave. Even as the rest of the band hurtles toward doom at the end of ‘Gimme Shelter,’ Watts remains cool in the face of danger. (UCR)
‘Beast of Burden’
Watts excelled at laying a solid foundation for the Stones, no matter what style they were operating with — blues, R&B, pop, psychedelia, disco or rock. On this Top 10 single, he locks into a groove immediately after the great opening guitar riff, giving the mid-tempo song a worthy backbeat to carry it through to the end. A typically subtle, but absolutely brilliant, performance by Watts. (UCR)