Lights Out, Charlie Watts

Charlie Watts died today. It’s sad when a member of a rock royal family dies. It’s another reminder that some of us are closer to remembering history (if we’re able) than making it.

I didn’t get to my first Stones concert until I was 27 years old. It was their 1994 Voodoo Lounge tour. But I am immensely thankful I did. I’m a 60’s girl. Not in the miniskirt way. I was too late for that. But I was born in ’67 and my heart never left.

At the concert, I admit my binocular-clad eyes had a hard time drifting away from dynamo Mick and his slouching sidekick Keith. But when Keith turned to the drum kit to check in, I followed. I just wish I’d better appreciated the master working behind it. The more I read about Mr. Watts, the bigger the picture emerges of not only a gifted artist, but a remarkable man.

Obits and memorial pieces fill airwaves and cram cyberspace as I write this. Rolling Stone magazine quotes a 2012 review of a Rolling Stones concert [that] reads in part: “For all of Mick and Keith’s supremacy, there’s no question that the heart of this band is and will always be Watts: At 71, his whipcrack snare and preternatural sense of swing drive the songs with peerless authority, and define the contradictory uptight-laid-back-ness that’s at the heart of the Stones’ rhythm.” Watts was never a flashy drummer, but driving the beat for “The World’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band” for a two-hour set — in a stadium, no less — is an act of great physical endurance that Watts performed until he was 78.”


Aside from keeping the Stones’ iconic beat steady for more than fifty years, Charlie survived throat cancer, kicked a heroin habit and remained faithful to the same woman, his wife Shirley Ann Shepherd, for 57 years. He’s also survived by his daughter, Seraphina, and granddaughter Charlotte.

It seems Charlie lived a life steeped in satisfaction. He will definitely be missed.

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Published by Missy Kavanaugh-Carryer

Missy Kavanaugh-Carryer is a content writer and author of two children's books and a board book series for young children. She's currently working on her first novel.

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