Charlie Watts – the legendary Rolling Stones drummer – has died aged 80. Watts, a jazz cognoscenti who went on to appear on all of the band’s 30 studio releases, was seen by many as the most mild-mannered member of the group. Unlike bandmates Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood, Watts preferred to stay out of the showbiz spotlight, spending the latter years of his life with his wife Shirley (who he has known since the Stones’ debut in 1963) at a Devonshire horse-breeding farm.
That does not mean Watts’ life was a complete bore fest. When someone is a part of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll group of all time, there is always a story or two worth recalling. For instance, Watts once punched Jagger in the face for calling him “my drummer”, and used to sketch each hotel room he stayed in when touring.
Watts also had his fair share of encounters with history’s most notable figures. In the ‘80s, he was entertained in a hotel room in Hawaii – with tea and biscuits – by none other than prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. She later called the Stones a “great British asset”, which some say helped them become reputable among critics who saw them as anti-establishment.
Clearly, Maggie was unable to make a Thatcherite out of Watts, who preferred to stay out of political discourse. In 2016, Watts said: “I actually don’t like politicians or politics. We’ve got to have them but I don’t like them. I’ve never liked a politician in my life. I’ve never voted for anyone. I don’t believe them. So, I‘ve never voted for any of them.