CHARLIE WATTS Biography - Musicians


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Name: Charlie Watts                                                                   
Birth name: Charles Robert Watts                                                     
Born: 2 June 1941 London, England                                                     
Charles Robert "Charlie" Watts (born 2 June 1941) is the drummer of The Rolling       
Stones. He is also a jazz bandleader and commercial artist. Watts is sometimes       
referred to as "The Wembley Whammer" when introduced by Mick Jagger during a         
Charlie Watts was born to a lorry driver for a precursor of British Rail and his     
wife Jessica Mort Watts at University College Hospital, London, England, and         
raised in Islington, a London borough. Watts is an only child. Between 1952 and       
1956, he attended Tylers Croft Secondary Modern School. After that, he went to       
Harrow Art School. He was talented at football whilst at Secondary School. In         
1960, he was working with a local band when he met Alexis Korner, who convinced       
him to join his own band, Blues Incorporated.                                         
Shortly afterwards, Watts left Blues Incorporated, citing its hectic schedule. A     
trained commercial artist, Watts found work at the advertising firm of Charles       
Hobson and Grey. However, in late 1962, Watts was persuaded to join the Rolling       
Stones as a drummer. Watts kept his day job until the Stones secured a long-term     
gig at the Crawdaddy Club near London. In January 1963 he quit his job to join       
the group officially and devote his life to music. Watts remains a member of the     
Stones to this day.                                                                   
Watts has been involved in many activities outside his high-profile life as a         
member of the Rolling Stones. In 1964, he published a cartoon tribute to Charlie     
Parker entitled Ode to a High Flying Bird. Although he has made his name in rock,     
his personal tastes focus on jazz; in the late 70s, he joined fellow Stone Ian "Stu" 
Stewart in the back-to-the-roots boogie-woogie fun band Rocket 88, which             
featured many of the UK's top jazz, rock and R&B musicians. In the 1980s, he         
toured worldwide with a big band that included such names as Evan Parker,             
Courtney Pine, and Jack Bruce, who was also a member of Rocket 88. In 1991, he       
organized a jazz quintet as another tribute to Charlie Parker. 1993 saw the           
release of Warm And Tender, by the Charlie Watts Quintet, which included             
vocalist Bernard Fowler. This same group then released Long Ago And Far Away in       
1996. Both records included a collection of American Song Book standards. After       
a successful collaboration with Jim Keltner on The Rolling Stones' Bridges to         
Babylon, Charlie and Jim released a techno/instrumental album called simply           
Charlie Watts/Jim Keltner Project. Featuring the names of his favorite jazz           
drummers, Charlie stated that even though the tracks bore such names as the           
Elvin Suite in honor of the late Elvin Jones and Max Roach, they weren't copying     
their style of drumming, but rather, capturing a feeling by those artists. Watts'     
latest solo outing has been released in 2004. Watts At Scott's was recorded with     
his group, The Charlie Watts Tentet, at the famous jazz club in London, Ronnie       
Besides his musical creativity, he contributed graphic art to early records such     
as the Between the Buttons record sleeve and was responsible for the famous 1975     
tour announcement press conference in New York City. The band surprised the           
throng of waiting reporters by driving and playing "Brown Sugar" on the back of       
a flatbed truck in the middle of Manhattan traffic; a gimmick AC/DC copied later     
the same year and U2 would later emulate in the 1990s. Watts remembered this was     
a common way for New Orleans jazz bands to promote upcoming dates. Moreover,         
with Jagger, he designed the elaborate stages for tours, first contributing to       
the lotus flower shaped design of that 1975 Tour of the Americas, as well as the     
1989–1990 Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle Tour.                                           
There are many instances where Jagger and Richards have lauded Watts as the key       
member of the Rolling Stones. Richards went so far as to say in a 2005 Guitar         
Player magazine interview that the Rolling Stones would not be, or could not         
continue as the Rolling Stones, without Watts. An example of Watts' importance       
was demonstrated in 1991 when Bill Wyman left the band after years of                 
deliberation. After auditioning several bassists, Jagger and Richards asked           
Watts to choose the new bass player; he selected the respected session musician       
Darryl Jones, who was a sideman to both Miles Davis and Sting. In business,           
Watts, along with Richards and Jagger, owns a piece of the Rolling Stones             
corporate entities, something that does not apply to Mick Taylor, Ron Wood or         
even Bill Wyman.                                                                     
During the four decades of performing with the Rolling Stones, Watts has proven       
to be one of the most influential drummers in popular music despite his modesty.     
A gifted and powerful drummer, he is often cited by many younger drummers as a       
seminal influence on their own style.                                                 
In 1989, The Rolling Stones, including Watts, were inducted into the Rock and         
Roll Hall of Fame. Also, in the July 2006 issue of Modern Drummer, Charlie Watts     
was voted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame, along with the likes of Steve         
Gadd, Keith Moon, Buddy Rich and other greats. He now lives in Dolton, a rural       
village in Devon and owns an Arabian Horse Stud Farm.