June 2, 1941: Charlie Watts Born in London

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charlie-watts-fb-2005 (crop)The Rolling Stones drummer was named in full Charles Robert Watts on his birth at University College Hospital in London on June 2, 1941. As the band’s website notes, “Just about everyone considers Charlie Watts to be the coolest man in rock, but he would be just as happy to be considered one of the coolest men in jazz.”

After all, he was inspired to play music after discovering such jazz masters as Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and John Coltrane at 10 years old. His first drum was fashioned from the body of a banjo with the neck and strings removed. In the early 1960s Watts worked as a graphic artist at an ad agency by day while at night played drums in a number of R&B and jazz bands.

He first met Mick Jagger when the singer sat in with one of those groups, Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated. When the Rolling Stones formed in 1962 they tried to recruit Watts to join, but he turned them down to instead continue to play gigs that paid. After finally signing on with the band, he played his first show with them on January 12, 1963, at the Ealing Blues Club.

In 2006, Watts was both inducted into Modern Drummer magazine’s Hall of Fame and named by Vanity Fair to its International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame.

Related: The London bar scene of the early Rolling Stones

Check out “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” from Watts’ perspective…

In 2017, Watts released a solo album—a jazz set like his previous non-Stones recordings—on impulse!/Verve. Titled Charlie Watts Meets the Danish Radio Big Band, the live album features big band classics, originals and Rolling Stones covers. More details here.

Related: Our recap of the Stones’ May 2018 London concerts

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  1. Hippie Dave
    #1 Hippie Dave 2 June, 2016, 20:46

    Happy Birthday Charlie!! Rock it like a Stone!!

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