Charlie Watts was unpretentious, self-deprecating, romantic and faithful. It meant that it took some time — decades, in fact — for this stylish Rolling Stone to stand out in a band full of rockers. But when the end came, Watts had earned the reverence that was his due.

It’s just about possible to date the point at which Charlie Watts became everyone’s favourite Rolling Stone. In the sixties, Mick Jagger had been the focus of attention as the skinny, hyperactive frontman with an almost cartoonish beauty. In the mid seventies he gave way to Keith Richards as the embodiment of wasted rock cool, a position the guitarist occupied for around two decades. But in 1997, when the four remaining members of the band gathered to announce their Bridges to Babylon tour under Brooklyn Bridge, it was as if everyone simultaneously realised that actually Charlie had been the one all along.


    James Medd


    December 2021


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