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Charlie Watts' fantastic legacy rocks on


     One of the worst feelings in life is the loss of a loved one; someone who contributed a lot to your life and helped you to grow into the person you are. This person can be a family member, friend, or even acquaintance. For the music industry, that someone was rock legend Charlie Watts, who passed away from throat cancer at 80 years old on August 24.

     Watts was best known for being a member of the classic rock band, The Rolling Stones. They have released some classics, such as “Paint it, Black,” “Sympathy for the Devil” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” all of which Watts played a huge role in as the drummer. According to his obituary, despite playing rock music, Watts’ true passion was playing jazz, but he had many other interests as well.

     He was trained in graphic design and art, allowing him to contribute to the band’s physical presence while also collaborating with his bandmate and lead singer Mick Jagger to create logos, album covers and stage construction. Jagger paid his condolences by posting a captionless image to Instagram of Watts smiling behind his drum set before a show. 

     The Rolling Stones also paid tribute by posting an emotional video to their Twitter page. In it, Watts speaks on joining the band along with many humorous clips of them on tour and in interviews. It was definitely one of the most respectful ways for someone to say, “goodbye,” ーshowing the imprint that he had left. The Rolling Stones were not the only ones to send sympathy, many other classic rock musicians did the same. 

     The Police drummer Stewart Copeland, spoke of how much Watts contributed to his passion for playing. Ben Beaumount-Thomas of the Guardian quoted him by saying that there would be no “Stones” without Watts. 

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     Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band drummer Max Weinburg, also commented, “... he was nonpareil – there was nobody quite like him.” Weinberg went on to discuss how Watts became a prominent figure for his style of playing.

     Growing up, I was never much of a “Stones” fan, myself, but Watts was undoubtedly an amazing musician. He was able to turn a form of rock into his own genre, and I feel that is something that is worth applauding. Without him, a lot of well known rock bands probably wouldn’t even exist, making him deserving of his awards and achievements.

     In 2006, Watts was accepted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame, being placed alongside Ringo Starr of the Beatles, Keith Moon of the Who, Steve Gadd of Steely Dan and many others.  He also won a Grammy for Best Rock Album, another for Best Music Video and a final for Best Traditional Blues Album, signifying his unbelievable talent. 

     Watts was undeniably a very influential figure in the rock industry, inspiring many young drummers to do what they love most. It’s satisfying to know that he got to do one of his favorite things before passing ー being a well-respected drummer and musician. Watts’ legacy will surely live on through generations of rock music to come, and as a way to commemorate him, those who haven’t already should check out the Rolling Stones. 

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