Charlie Watts death: Tributes pour in from Elton John, Paul McCartney and more for Rolling Stones drummer

A statement did not reveal the cause of death

Sam Moore
Tuesday 24 August 2021 18:23
The Rolling Stones gig
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Tributes have poured in celebrating Charlie Watts, the legendary drummer of The Rolling Stones, who has died aged 80.

His death comes just weeks after the band announced that Watts would be missing several US tour dates as he would be recovering from an unspecified medical procedure. Watts was previously successfully treated for throat cancer in 2004.

The musician’s publicist said: “It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts. He passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today surrounded by his family.”

Fans and fellow musicians alike celebrated Watts’ life and career.

Elton John tweeted: “A very sad day. Charlie Watts was the ultimate drummer. The most stylish of men, and such brilliant company. My deepest condolences to Shirley, Seraphina and Charlotte. And of course, The Rolling Stones.”

Paul McCartney posted a video to Twitter in which he said he was “so sorry to hear about Charlie Watts”.

Beatles drummer Ringo Starr also tweeted: “God bless Charlie Watts we’re going to miss you man peace and love to the family. Ringo.”

Paul Stanley, from Kiss, commented: “AWFUL NEWS. One of the true timeless icons and the backbone of the Stones. Hard to fathom the loss. So very sad.”

Nancy Sinatra also shared, “As one famous story from the band’s heyday goes, Jagger once phoned Watts’ hotel room in the midst of an all-night party asking ‘Where’s my drummer?’ Watts reportedly got up, shaved, dressed in a suit, put on a tie and freshly shined shoes, descended the stairs, and punched Jagger in the face, saying: ‘Don’t ever call me your drummer again. You’re my fucking singer!’”

Patti Smith posted to Instagram: “This is Charlie Watts. Mourned and beloved by all.”

Tim Burgess, the lead singer of The Charlatans, posted to Twitter: “So, long maestro.” along with a picture of the drummer.

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Tom Morello, guitarist for Rage Against the Machine, said: “Rock n roll would not be rock n roll without the rhythm, the style, the VIBE of this incredible musician. Rest in peace Charlie Watts, one of the greatest and most important architects of the music we love.”

Robbie Robertson, lead singer and guitarist of The Band, commented: “Charlie’s drumming is powerful and unique. His approach is entirely his own and helped shape the sound of rock and roll. Blessings Charlie Watts.”

Joan Jett added via Twitter: “Charlie Watts was the most elegant and dignified drummer in rock and roll. He played exactly what was needed - no more - no less. He is one of a kind.”

The band Garbage said: “There goes a hero. Dear Charlie Watts. What a legend. Sad to see him go.”

Trainspotting author, Irvine Welsh tweeted: “RIP Charlie Watts. Always steadfastly came over as a no-nonsense honest broker in a situation where the acclaim, wealth, pomposity and egotism could corrupt the sweetest of souls.”

Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys posted to Twitter: “I’m just shocked to hear about Charlie Watts. I don’t know what to say, I feel terrible for Charlie’s family. Charlie was a great drummer and I loved the Stones’ music, they made great records. Love & Mercy.”

Perry Farrell, the lead singer of Jane’s Addiction, said: “Drummers are the most ensnared individuals. Though they are loudest, they are the last to be heard. They have insecurities due to the fact that everyone has their back turned on them. Herein lies the band’s secret; there is no greatness- without a great drummer. RIP Charlie Watts.”

Rockstar, Lenny Kravitz, posted: Charlie Watts. The beat of The Stones. There are no words, every groove has spoken for itself.”

Monty Python comedian, Eric Idle, tweeted: “Saddened by the loss of Charlie Watts. A kind and gentle man. He will be very missed.”

Duran Duran also tweeted: “So saddened to hear about the passing of Charlie Watts. An absolute inspiration to a legion of drummers since the 1960’s. A man of grace , style , dignity and composure.”

Liam Gallagher simply posted: “RIP CHARLIE WATTS.”

Nile Rodgers tweeted: “You are a smooth brother. Thanks for all the great music.”

Singer Joan Armatrading also paid tribute: “Why am I crying? Because Charlie Watts has died. Who knew that any of the Rolling Stones musicians would ever leave this earth.”

Bruce Springsteen’s longtime drummer, Max Weinberg, tweeted: “A monumentally sad day learning my personal hero Charlie Watts has died. I’m devastated and my soul aches for Shirley, Serafina, the extended Watts family, and of course his band mates. I don’t know what to say really. Charlie Watts Rest In Peace my friend…”

Guns N Roses lead singer, Axl Rose, also shared a tribute: Very sorry to hear of the passing of The Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts. My deepest condolences to his family, the band and the fans.”

Johnny Marr, guitarist of The Smiths, posted on Twitter: “Aside from being a unique musician Charlie Watts managed to remain completely classy throughout the whole of the Rolling Stones career. Quite an achievement.”

Bestselling author, Stephen King, also shared his love of Watts: “I’ve been listening to Charlie Watts drum since 1964 -57 years. Saw him at Foxboro before the pandemic. God, he was so good.”

Public Enemy rapper, Chuck D also posted about meeting the late drummer: “Rest In Beats Charlie Watts -session invited by the great ⁦Bernard Fowler,⁩ ⁦The Rolling Stones⁩ rehearsing 3 hours of Sticky Fingers for concerts. Mick pulled out the the salt & started his dance even. Mr CW finished a roll & pointed his sticks at me!? I was like Who me? Wtf!”

Actor, comedian and musician, Hugh Laurie, posted a social media tribute: “21 gun salute for Charlie Watts.”

Blues legend, Buddy Guy tweeted: “Buddy would like to offer his deepest condolences, his love, and his prayers to the family of Charlie Watts, to Mick, Keith, Ronnie, and to everyone in the Rolling Stones camp. Friends till the end. All our love.”

Tonny Iommi, guitarist from Black Sabbath, said: “So sorry to hear the very sad news of Charlie Watts passing. He was such a nice guy and a major influence in the music business - he’ll be sadly missed. My deepest condolences to his family and to Mick, Ronnie, Keith and all his friends and fans. R.I.P.”

Boy George also posted his condolences: “I loved Charlie Watts. A sad day for The Rolling Stones. Charlie was a total legend.”

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