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Charlie Watts, 2 June 1941 — 24 August 2021

And then there were two.

Vale the irrepressible Charlie Watts then, who has died in London aged 80.

As well as being the percussive backbone of the Rolling Stones since he replaced my friend Emma’s dad Carlo Little as drummer (the other “Wembley Whammer” if ever there was one), I dug his curmudgeonly demeanour, his love of jazz and smart tailoring. 

In his earlier years he would attack the drums as if he was spoiling for a fight. And in his later years he reminded me of your grumpy dad at home. I love that he was irascible and bored of being polite and insincere, such as when he maintained David Bowie wasn’t a genius after The Dame died.

Over-used word, genius, see.

When someone’s being grumpy, you know you’re getting their attention, don’t you? Your words register with them. Whereas with so many people they don’t really, they listen to a couple of words then issue a few innocuously bland pre-prepared thoughts that will do the job.

The featured contact sheet piccie was from a session taken by the great Jill Furmanovsky at London’s Halcyon Hotel in March 1991, one of which was featured in a Q magazine photographic supplement later that year. Back then, I wasn’t sure how much I liked it until housemate Judi raved about it, marvelling at how you could see every pore, every line, every inch of his enigmatic inscrutable personality. 

It’s a terrible cliche but they really don’t make ‘em like that any more.


Steve Pafford, Le Ciotat

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