Charlie Watts was a young boy when he heard jazz drummer Chico Hamilton playing the brushes on a Gerry Mulligan Quartet record called Walking Shoes. Young Charlie knew, in that moment, that he wanted to be a jazz drummer too. Before long, he's drumming for the rock band he never left - The Rolling Stones.
It may seem counterintuitive, but Charlie's jazz roots made him exactly the right man for what would become the world's best live rock and roll band. His rock steady drumming anchored the Stones rhythm section, creating opportunities for Mick, Keith and soloists to shine.
And that would have been more than enough. But the best drummers do much more by doing less. They add fills and breaks - but no more than the song requires. Sometimes, Charlie would play a fraction behind the beat, creating a soulful, funky element that empowered Stones rock songs.
Charlie Watts was a great drummer, and a true gentleman.
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Richard is a writer, podcaster, radio and TV broadcaster, an editor, and a lover of music. He tells the stories of how great songs are made, and of the people who make them.