Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Rhythm in Peace, Charlie Watts.

We just got the shitty, although not altogether unexpected, news that Charlie Watts passed away earlier today.

Of course, dying at the age of 80, after a lifetime of accomplishments, a successful career, and a beautiful family is perhaps not a tragedy.

But, man, is it ever sad. Charlie Watts. The Stones just lost their Roll. As awesome as the songs are, as commanding as Jagger is onstage, as cool as Keith's riffs are, the real backbone of "the World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band" (tm) has always been Charlie and Keith's interplay.

The Rolling Stones' Backbone

Because Charlie Watts wasn't a mere rock drummer. He wasn't not binary woodchopper like Bonham or Moon. He was a jazzman at heart and he gave the band that inimitable swing that distinguished them from other English purveyors of regurgitated blues.

There's a reason Charlie got the loudest cheers when Jagger introduced the band at the end of a concert. In fact, there are many reasons. His perfect timekeeping, his imperturbable onstage demeanor, his dapper offstage persona... Charlie Watts was a real person. Mick, Keith and Woody are cartoon characters. They are the epitome of rock stars. Prototypes. Caricatures, almost. Charlie Watts played the drums.

Of course no one expected them to cancel their tour again when it was announced a couple of weeks ago that Charlie wasn't fit to join them on their next trek. The Mick and Keith show will go on, must go on. And of course, if anyone has to replace him, Steve Jordan is the best choice. But the Stones will never be the same. And neither will the we, the fans.

Dylan is eighty. McCartney is seventy-nine. Let's brace ourselves for the next few years: the heartbreak is just beginning. And it'll tear our world apart.

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