Born on this day in 1941, the "Webley Whammer," Charlie Watts, the English drummer, best known as a member of The Rolling Stones would have turned 81 today. Sadly, we lost Charlie on August 21, 2021, when he passed away in a London hospital surrounded by his family.
Originally trained as a graphic artist, Watts started playing drums in London’s rhythm and blues clubs, where he met Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards. In 1963, he joined their group, as a drummer, while doubling as designer of their record sleeves and tour stages. He has also toured with his own group, the Charlie Watts Quintet, and appeared at London’s prestigious jazz club Ronnie Scott’s with the Charlie Watts Tentet. In 2006, Watts was elected into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame; in the same year, Vanity Fair elected him into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame. In the estimation of noted music critic Robert Christgau, Watts is "rock's greatest drummer." In 2016, he was ranked 12th on Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Drummers of All Time" list. In his memory, check out the Stones' tribute video (above) and watch Charlie talking about how he learned (or didn't learn) to play drums.