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LONDON – Charlie Watts, the self-effacing and steadfast Rolling Stones drummer who helped anchor one of rock’s greatest rhythm sections and used his ‘day job’ to support his enduring love of jazz, has died, his publicist says . He was 80 years old.

Bernard Doherty said on Tuesday that Watts “passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier in the day surrounded by his family.”

“Charlie was a cherished husband, father and grandfather, and also as a member of the Rolling Stones, one of the greatest drummers of his generation,” Doherty said.

Watts had announced that he would not tour with the Stones in 2021 due to an undefined health issue.

The calm and elegantly dressed Watts was often ranked with Keith Moon, Ginger Baker and a handful of others as a leading rock drummer, respected around the world for his muscular, swinging style as the Stones moved on from their early days. scruffy to an international superstar. He joined the group in early 1963 and remained there for almost 60 years, ranking just behind Mick Jagger and Keith Richards as the oldest and most essential member of the group.

Watts has stayed and largely stayed away, through drug abuse, creative clashes and ego wars that helped kill founding member Brian Jones, pushed bassist Bill Wyman and Jones’ replacement Mick Taylor to step down, and have made being in the Stones the most exhausting job.

A classic Stones song like “Brown Sugar” and “Start Me Up” often began with a harsh guitar riff from Richards, followed closely by Watts and Wyman, as the bassist liked to say, “fattening the sound.” Watts ‘speed, power and timing have never been better showcased than in the concert documentary “Shine a Light”, when director Martin Scorsese filmed “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” from which he drummed upstage.

Watts didn’t care about flashy solos or attention of any kind, but along with Wyman and Richards he forged some of rock’s deepest grooves on “Honky Tonk Women”, “Brown Sugar” and ‘other songs. The drummer has adapted well to everything from the disco of “Miss You” to the jazzy “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” and the dream ballad “Moonlight Mile”.

The young Rolling Stones arrive in Albany in 1965

Editor’s Note: While the Rolling Stones performed at Albany’s former Pepsi Arena on September 17, 2005, it was the band’s first local appearance that caught the minds of many fans. The following are excerpts from Brenton Blanchet’s Gazette story on September 23, 2020, marking just over 55 years since the group’s performances on April 29, 1965 at Albany’s Palace Theater.

The most important show Eddie Angel has ever attended – at least “historically” speaking – could never be his favorite.

Of course, he was just a 12-year-old child from Albany when the Rolling Stones blew him away at the Palace Theater on April 29, 1965. There were all the makings for a legendary moment on the music scene of the capital region and it was the first concert the now Nashville-based guitarist and frontman of Los Straightjackets remembers attending.

But it stank too. … The Stones only played three songs before everyone got fired.

“All it was was screaming kids,” Angel said. “They started to play, but [Mick] Jagger’s microphone started to short out, cut off. After three songs he was just disgusted and they left. I got ripped off, man.

WTRY presented two Rolling Stones shows on April 29, one at 6:45 p.m. and the other at 8:45 p.m., both featuring the Sundowners and the Knickerbockers – a group known for their hit “Lies” to the sound of The Beatles. According to coverage from the April 30 edition of The Times Union, the group met fans before and between shows, looking both “half bored and half amused.” Meanwhile, Jagger ordered cheeseburgers and a coke, Brian Jones played with a tight-fitting, and Charlie Watts sat with his wife, Shirley.

Longtime Stones fans still view the shows as an experience like no other. The first show might have been a bit of a mess due to its inferior runtime, but those who attended the second show that day – including now – “SpongeBob SquarePants” songwriter Andy Paley, who was living in Halfmoon at the time, and WAMC’s Capital Region bureau chief Dave Lucas – enjoyed a full package, with ‘The Last Time’ closer and then unique giving the crowd of 2,800 got a good start.

Bobby Dick, lead singer of the iconic ’60s rock group from the Capital Region, the Sundowners, was just 18 when he got the important gig, via a WTRY connection, to open for the Stones.

And he said there was a miscommunication on that first show because the Stones were forced to use the Sundowners equipment and there were technical issues.

Before the shows took place, the excitement for the Stones was evident.

Angel remembers that “everyone formed a band” after the Beatles were formed.

“Everyone was in a group or wanted to be in a group,” Angel said. “And it seemed like every week a new record was coming out of England that was mind blowing. Looking back, I’m pretty amazed that there were so many teenagers on the Rolling Stones at that time. Last time, “” Time is on my side, “but how did that appeal to teenagers? But he did. These British musicians just seemed to come from another planet.

While the Stones weren’t necessarily the Stones at the time – as “Satisfaction” didn’t air the air until a little later in 1965 – the excitement for the show was undeniable.

“They didn’t have a lot of hits at the time,” Lucas said. “It was right before ‘Satisfaction’ came out, and it’s the song that rooted them in the culture. A few weeks after the show, a member of their organization gave one of the DJs at WTRY a copy of “Satisfaction.” “

Recalling the Palace shows, Lucas, who was 14 at the time, said he was driven to the Palace by a friend’s mother. During the show, on either side of him, girls were screaming.

“Throughout the concert, on either side of me, [girls] cried out loud. My ears are still ringing today because of it.

Paley – who was sitting towards the front of the room for the second show – remembers things the same way. He was 13 and his sisters took him to the concert.

“I don’t remember anything about the mechanics of getting the tickets, I was just the one they brought to the show,” Paley said. “And I was super, super excited.”

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