February 6, 2023

By Ahmet Abdulaziz

After serving The Rolling Stones as drummer for 59 long years, Charlie Watts died on 24th August, 2021 in a London hospital. He was 80 years old.

The Rolling Stones is one exemplary music group which has maintained its popularity for over half century. This indeed is not something easy. As I had written some years back in the same column, they were there when the Beatles had rocked the music world. They were still among a very few groups on top when Michael Jackson took the music lovers along. The Rolling Stones, survived all and everything. It is their type of music that has made them successful in maintaining their followers.

Since the early 1960s, more than three generations have listened to the music of The Rolling Stones. The grandparents, fans of the Stones, still find their children and grandchildren following the beat. This is the quality of the music produced by The Rolling Stones.

Charlie Watts can very well be declared as the most humble celebrity of the music world. There is no doubt that he was one of the greatest drummers of music history. The Rolling Stones magazines put him as 12th of the 100 Greatest Drummers of all times, in 2016.

Charlie did have a unique face, rather an expressionless sort of face. He always maintained his sober sort of expression, even when smiling. Mostly he kept himself away from the “show” side of the music world. He was not a showman sort of person, appearing in every this and that television show.

He did have a very private sort of family life. Married to Shirley Ann Shepherd, in the early 1960s, he remained loyal to her till the end. The couple had one daughter Seraphina and a grandchild named Charlotte. He loved Arabian horses and owned a stud farm.

He did have health problems, mostly due to drugs and alcohol. He was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014. However, his devotion to music and love for drumming, kept him going. ” It seems that whenever we stop, I get ill. So maybe I should carry on”

Interestingly Charlie Watts never had a driving licence, though he owned a number of cars, which he preferred to view as beautiful objects. He loved cricket.

The Rolling Stones is not just Mick Jagger, or Keith Richards, or Ronnie Wood or Charlie Watts. This quartet have jointly succeeded in producing fantastic music since they hit the charts in the early 1960s. They were inseparable, as they had spent their youth, their middle age and their advanced years together. So what will happen to The Rolling Stones, as Charlie Watts is no more?

Indeed this is a very difficult question to answer. Most probably the remaining three would opt to retire. At their advanced ages, I always believed that they were continuing their active music career just because they were getting energy from each other. Now minus their drummer, it may be very difficult for them to continue as a band.

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