With Charlie Watts, “The Wembley Bomber”, the Rolling Stones were born

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Charlie Watts said yes”. She wasn’t passionate about rock, but she accepted. They couldn’t pay him, and he didn’t care either.. And although he always thought that “we were going to last a week,” on January 9, 1963, the rolling stones They welcomed their new drummer. That day What many consider “the best rock band in the world” was born. At least, that’s how they think.

In 1962, Charlie Watts met the Rolling Stones and the Stones met Watts. He I was working as a graphic designer at the time. for an advertising agency – Charles, Hobson & Gray – and he was passionate about jazz and drums (he had started playing a 12-pounder that his mother gave him when he was 14). At night, she earned a bonus handling drumsticks in Blues Incorporatedthe group of the British blues pioneer Alexis Korner (which Mick Jagger, Keith Richards or Brian Jones had occasionally passed by). Both bands were part of the same music scene and they frequented the same London rhythm and blues clubs.

Although at that time The Stones couldn’t afford to pay Watts, they wanted to have him in the group. “For months we ‘drooled’ over Charlie,” Keith Richards told Variety. “She started showing up at rehearsals, which was the only thing we did then, rehearse.” Finally, even though rock was not his thing, he agreed. On January 9, 1963, Charlie Watts joined the Rolling Stones. replacing Tony Chapman. All members of the band, according to Keith Richards, They consider that day as the true beginning of the Rolling Stones.

Just three days later, on January 12, Watts premiered live with his new band. That first concert took place at the Ealing Blues Club, with a capacity of 200 people. The arrival of Charlie Watts was the last piece of the puzzle which already included Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman and keyboardist Ian Stewart. That month of June 63, The group released their first single, a cover of Chuck Berry’s classic come on.

Charlie had no choice but to learn rock and had an exceptional teacher. He explained it himself in an interview with Nights with Alice Cooper: “Keith Richards taught me rock and roll. We had nothing to do all day except play these records over and over again. I learned to love Muddy Waters and people like that, after an intensive three-year course. And Keith made me change and He taught me how good Elvis Presley was. Until then, she hated him.”.

Charlie Watts in the show 'Ready Steady Go!'

Charlie Watts in the show ‘Ready Steady Go!’ / George Wilkes Archive

At 22 years old, and taking into account his famous statements (“I don’t really love rock and roll. “I love jazz.” Charlie Watts would never have thought that his drums would become in the essence of rock and he in a legend. Nor did he imagine that the Stones would get where they did or that they would become the longest-running rock band. “No, at that time you only lasted as long as the guy at the club, or whoever, hired you. If he didn’t like you, you did two concerts and that’s it.. So I always thought we were going to last a weekthen a fortnight… and suddenly 30 years”, He said Watts in his interview ‘Nights with Alice Cooper’ from 1993.

No. It wasn’t just three decades. Charles Robert Watts was Rolling Stone’s drummer for almost twice as long… until his death from cancer on August 24, 2021, at 80 years old. Yeah His first concert had been in front of 200 people. In a small London club, Watts’ last performance with the band, August 30, 2019, at Hard Rock Stadium from Miami, Florida, brought together more than 65,000 people. The last song in which his drumsticks were played live was (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.

Even if I didn’t love rock, What he did love was “playing rock and roll with the Stones” and his contribution was a fundamental pillar for the band. “The Wembley Bomber,” as Jagger often introduced him at concerts, Not only did he stand out for playing his instrument masterfully, he also performed as a man of peace who relaxed any tension between his companions. He never missed a single concert throughout his career with the group, and together with Jagger and Richards, was the only member to appear on every album in the band’s discography. Even is present in Hackney diamonds (2023) with the final two songs he recorded with his colleagues before passing away.


Written by

Christopher Johnson

Christopher Johnson is a dedicated writer and key contributor to the WECB website, Emerson College's student-run radio station. Passionate about music, radio communication, and journalism, Christopher pursues his craft with a blend of meticulous research and creative flair. His writings on the site cover an array of subjects, from music reviews and artist interviews to event updates and industry news. As an active member of the Emerson College community, Christopher is not only a writer but also an advocate for student involvement, using his work to foster increased engagement and enthusiasm within the school's radio and broadcasting culture. Through his consistent and high-quality outputs, Christopher Johnson helps shape the voice and identity of WECB, truly embodying its motto of being an inclusive, diverse, and enthusiastic music community.