Jagger, Richards share tributes to Watts

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had been Charlie Watts' Stones bandmates since 1963.
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had been Charlie Watts' Stones bandmates since 1963.

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have shared poignant tributes to Charlie Watts following The Rolling Stones drummer's death aged 80.

The trio had been bandmates since 1963, working together on era-defining tracks including (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, Paint It Black, Jumpin' Jack Flash and Brown Sugar.

Watts, who died peacefully at a London hospital on Monday surrounded by his family, was considered the most mild mannered of The Rolling Stones, providing an essential counterbalance to his more exuberant bandmates.

Jagger paid tribute to his colleague of almost 60 years on social media, sharing a picture of Watts smiling while seated behind a drum kit.

The Rolling Stones frontman, 78, did not add a caption.

In his tribute, Richards, 77, posted a picture of Watts's drum kit with a "closed" sign hung on it.

Their posts came as the rest of the rock world lined up to honour Watts.

Paul McCartney described Watts as a "fantastic drummer, steady as a rock", while Elton John called him "the ultimate drummer" in tributes posted on social media.

His counterpart in The Beatles, Ringo Starr, also tweeted a picture, writing: "God bless Charlie Watts, we're going to miss you man, peace and love to the family, Ringo."

Queen drummer Roger Taylor said on Instagram: "How sad, we've lost a true gentleman. The immaculate beating heart of the Rolling Stones."

Taylor's bandmate Brian May also posted a picture of Watts on Instagram, writing: "For some people this might be a cliche - but in Charlie's case it's the absolute truth - he was the nicest gent you could ever meet.

"And such a pillar of strength for the Rolling Stones - to whom he brought a touch of Jazz and a mountain of pure Class. Bless you Charlie. Rest in Peace and Rock on."

Kenney Jones, known for his work as a drummer with Small Faces and The Who, called Watts "a lovely, smart, amazing guy" and "the ultimate drummer" in a tribute to him.

Speaking to BBC News, Jones said he had spoken to Watts on his birthday and he "sounded in good spirits, didn't sound as healthy as I would like him to have sounded", adding: "But I thought we would see each other again."

Johnny Marr, guitarist and former member of The Smiths, praised Watts for his behaviour on and off stage.

He wrote on Twitter: "Aside from being a unique musician Charlie Watts managed to remain completely classy throughout the whole of the Rolling Stones career. Quite an achievement."

The Who frontman Roger Daltrey described Watts as "the perfect gentleman, as sharp in his manner of dress as he was on the drums".

"Charlie was a truly great drummer, whose musical knowledge of drumming technique, from jazz to the blues, was, I'm sure, the heartbeat that made The Rolling Stones the best rock'n'roll band in the world," Daltrey said.

Rocker Alice Cooper also paid tribute, saying the music world had lost "one of rock and roll's true gentlemen".

"I consider him the greatest pocket drummer of all time," Cooper said.

Singer Sheryl Crow said there was a "gaping hole in the universe" following his death in a tribute on Twitter, while Nile Rodgers tweeted: "You are a smooth brother. Thanks for all the great music."

Robbie Robertson, former lead guitarist and songwriter for The Band, tweeted: "Charlie's drumming is powerful and unique. His approach is entirely his own and helped shape the sound of rock and roll. Blessings Charlie Watts."

News of Watts' death came just weeks after it was announced Watts, who celebrated his 80th birthday in June, was to miss the band's forthcoming US tour.

Watts was replaced by American musician Steve Jordan after undergoing a medical procedure.

Australian Associated Press