When news broke on Tuesday that Charlie Watts had died, musicians and other celebrities took to social media to pay tribute to and celebrate the life of the legendary Rolling Stones drummer.
Known for being the steady backbone of one of the greatest rock bands in history, Watts was an authoritative and controlled drummer well into his 70s. Reviewing a Rolling Stones show in 2019, Variety‘s Chris Willman wrote, “Sitting at a minimalist kit and moving even more minimally with his casual jazz grip, [Watts looks] like the mild-mannered banker who no one in the heist movie realizes is the guy actually blowing up the vault.”
On Aug. 4, Watts withdrew from the Stones’ upcoming pandemic-postponed U.S. tour, citing the need to recover from an unspecified but “successful” recent medical procedure. On Tuesday, the band and Watts’ spokesperson announced that the drummer had died peacefully in a London hospital.
Paul McCartney posted a video on Twitter, paying tribute to Watts. “Charlie was a rock and a fantastic drummer — steady as a rock.”
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) August 24, 2021
Another Beatle, Ringo Starr, took to Twitter to honor his drumming peer. “#God bless Charlie Watts we’re going to miss you man peace and love to the family,” he wrote.
— #RingoStarr (@ringostarrmusic) August 24, 2021
“A very sad day,” Elton John tweeted. “Charlie Watts was the ultimate drummer. The most stylish of men, and such brilliant company. My deepest condolences to Shirley, Seraphina and Charlotte. And of course, The Rolling Stones.”
A very sad day. Charlie Watts was the ultimate drummer. The most stylish of men, and such brilliant company. My deepest condolences to Shirley, Seraphina and Charlotte. And of course, The Rolling Stones.
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) August 24, 2021
“A hero is gone. No words. A huge gaping hole in the universe,” Sheryl Crow said on Twitter.
A hero is gone. No words. A huge gaping hole in the universe.
RIP Charlie Watts. https://t.co/kLSaIF9JKn
— Sheryl Crow (@SherylCrow) August 24, 2021
The Roots drummer Questlove honored Watts on Instagram, writing, “The heartbeat of Rock & Roll. The Great Charlie Watts. All due respect.”
“Charlie Watts was the most elegant and dignified drummer in rock and roll,” Joan Jett wrote on Twitter. “He played exactly what was needed — no more — no less. He is one of a kind.”
Charlie Watts was the most elegant and dignified drummer in rock and roll. He played exactly what was needed – no more – no less. He is one of a kind. pic.twitter.com/aasPZ2fMYX
— Joan Jett (@joanjett) August 24, 2021
Funk icon Nile Rodgers, who has led the band Chic since 1976, also offered kind words on Twitter, writing, “Rest In Power #CharlieWatts RIP. You are a smooth brother. Thanks for all the great music.”
— Nile Rodgers (@nilerodgers) August 24, 2021
Liz Phair added, “RIP Charlie Watts… master of elegant simplicity.”
— Liz Phair (@PhizLair) August 24, 2021
See other reactions below:
So saddened to hear about the passing of Charlie Watts . An absolute inspiration to a legion of drummers since the 1960’s. A man of grace , style , dignity and composure . pic.twitter.com/Nu4msDShAF
— Duran Duran (@duranduran) August 24, 2021
Rock n roll would not be rock n roll without the rhythm, the style, the VIBE of this incredible musician. Rest In Peace #CharlieWatts, one of the greatest and most important architects of the music we love. pic.twitter.com/xEfzaSLCba
— Tom Morello (@tmorello) August 24, 2021
— The Who (@TheWho) August 24, 2021
— Lenny Kravitz (@LennyKravitz) August 24, 2021
I’m just shocked to hear about Charlie Watts. I don’t know what to say, I feel terrible for Charlie’s family. Charlie was a great drummer and I loved the Stones music, they made great records. Love & Mercy. pic.twitter.com/C4q2zXvVKo
— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) August 24, 2021