It’s a bittersweet day for fans of The Rolling Stones.
The second of June would have marked the 81st birthday of the band’s beloved drummer Charlie Watts. Watts had sat behind the Rolling Stones’ drum kit from the beginning of the band’s career in the early Sixties and had completed live concert tours until 2016.
The legendary drummer passed away last year on August 24th. The other members of the Stones had been under the impression Watts was going to make a full recovery from his illness, the specifics of which Watts and the rest of the band had never publicly revealed.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Watts’ bandmate, the Stones’ longtime guitarist Ronnie Wood, had been “the last of the group’s members to see Watts” during his hospitalization. Wood also alluded to Watts being irritated by his long hospital stay.
“I could tell he was pretty tired and fed up with the whole deal,” Wood told the publication. “He said, ‘I was really hoping to be out of here by now,’ then after that, there was a complication or two and I wasn’t allowed back. No one was.”
The Surviving Members Of The Band Send Birthday Wishes
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The band managed to amp up the ‘sweet’ element of this bittersweet birthday by posting tributes to Watts on their respective social media accounts.
Wood paid tribute to his former bandmate with a collage of photos on Twitter of the duo, and called Watts his “Gemini twin,” as per People.
Richards posted a photo of the duo sharing a moment of downtime backstage, with Watts making a goofy face, showing off his signature sense of humor.
Richards, 78, had given a glimpse into his bandmate’s silly side to Rolling Stone following Watts’ death, saying, “Charlie had an incredible sense of humor. And my joy was I loved to crack him up. If you could hit that spot, he wouldn’t stop, and it was the funniest thing in the world. He had an incredible sense of humor that he kept to himself unless you sparked it. And then it could be painful to laugh.”
Jagger went into the archives for his Instagram story post commemorating Watts’ birthday. He shared a photo of the duo from their “Tattoo You” era in the early Eighties. The album, which celebrated its fortieth anniversary a few days after Watts passed, contains one of the band’s biggest hits “Start Me Up.”
The Rolling Stones Took Special Care While Commemorating Watts On Tour
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The Rolling Stones were in the middle of their “No Filter” tour when Watts passed away.
Steve Jordan had been recruited to fill Watts’ shoes in the drummer’s seat for the remaining dates.
Jagger, 78, had stressed to Rolling Stone that Jordan was “very respectful of Charlie,” and added, “He played with Keith before we started rehearsals, and then he did homework, listening to the tunes…”
Richards added that his X-Pensive Winos bandmate is “So meticulous, so aware of the seat he’s sitting in. Steve said this to me: ‘Charlie played the drums. He didn’t hit them.'”
The Rolling Stones concluded their No Filter tour and are now celebrating six decades as a band by touring once again with Jordan playing drums. Jordan was also on hand to celebrate another big Stones adjacent milestone this year when Richards’ ‘solo’ band celebrated the 30th anniversary of their second album “Main Offender” earlier this Spring.