Ode to Charlie Watts
“Rock and roll has probably given more than it’s taken.”
This week, the drummer and backbone of The Rolling Stones transcended the material cosmos.
On Aug. 24, 2021, Charlie Watts took his last breath, leaving his conscious state of enduring life at 80 years old. Personally, there is strange humor in how I learned of his exit. Around 2:30 p.m., in my recording studio with my mother, I was learning a song on my guitar that I’d admired for years — “Can’t you hear me knocking,” by The Stones.
I’d always loved the high energy and seductiveness of the pulse that song has! I nailed it after listening to the song on repeat about four or five times.
I looked over at my mom, who happened to be in the room, and told her, “The drums are amazing. Charlie Watts did a fantastic job on this one!”
Forty-five minutes later, I received the news through Snapchat.
I had been taken aback, not by the juxtaposition, but the shock of losing someone who I knew through rhythms in songs. I’d learned his unique drum part on the song “Paint it Black” whenever I was 15 years old!
I’d always admired Watts’ drumming; he’s perpetually in the pocket and charged with composing passion! I’m sad that he is gone; I’ll never see The Rolling Stones live. And that’s okay, may his soul rest like the space in between his cymbal splashes that melt my heart!
Watts is now pulsing through people across the globe in the form of total energy, imagination and memory.
An inspiration, a legendary drummer, and wildly inventive drummer crossed over to the other side at the age of 80… He meant a lot to many people.
His character and energy will never disappear.
It’s the love in his drumming that ties the Stone’s music synchronically, generating a magnetic pull from his heart’s passion to my heart and countless other hearts!
It’s sad, yes. But dying is a reality. And we all must face that fact of life later or sooner, unknowing of the moment.
He accomplished so much, and it would take days to list every accomplishment accurately.
Material and otherwise, I could never know. The beauty in life is what you perceive it as.
The ultimate achievement prevails in playing the drums on 30 albums and being present every tour.
In a career that lasted six decades with one band, his swinging style and presence were nothing short of perfection for The Rolling Stones and their enormous base of listeners.
Imagine being in one group for 60 years. Could you imagine that? I can’t even come close, and yet Charlie went out and did it.
I hope you check out the Rolling Stones if you haven’t already; there is a genuine reason why you may be familiar with the name. If you like feeling good, check them out.
Thank you for your mammoth contribution. You made my life just that much more bearable. I send my love and condolences to your friend, fans, and most importantly, your family.
Charlie Watts, the superhuman percussionist! I love you! Rest easy.
Daniel O’Neal Bailey is a St. John the Baptist Parish native. He currently resides in Madisonville and plans to release his first album in December 2021.