Charlie Watts: Rolling Stones drummer dies at 80

Mark Savage for BBC Music:

Charlie Watts was never the most flashy drummer. He wasn’t known for the frenzied solos of Cream’s Ginger Baker, or for placing explosives in his kick drum like The Who’s Keith Moon. Instead, he was the subtle, stoic heartbeat of The Rolling Stones for almost 60 years.

On and off the stage, he was quiet and reserved – sticking to the shadows and letting the rest of the band suck up the limelight.

“I’ve actually never been interested in all that stuff and still am not,” he told the San Diego Tribune in 1991. “I don’t know what showbiz is and I’ve never watched MTV. There are people who just play instruments, and I’m pleased to know that I’m one of them.”

I haven’t had much time in the past few months, but I didn’t want to miss reflecting on this. It takes a humble drummer to avoid the spotlight and simply be the solid foundation behind the rest of the band. By all accounts from those who knew him best, humble appears to be an understatement for Charlie. What a career.

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