Hard to believe it's been a year since we lost the "Wembley Whammer," Charlie Watts, original drummer for The Rolling Stones, who passed away on August 21, 2021, in a London hospital surrounded by his family, at the age of 80.
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. If you're curious about the nickname, Mick Jagger liked to call Watts the Wembley Whammer, named for the London district where Charles Robert Watts grew up.
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.