The musicians who inspired Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones

Anyone who knows the Rolling Stones understands that rock music was not the foundation of the band. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were followers of Chuck Berry, but most of the band’s tastes were rooted in the blues. Elmore James, Howlin Wolf, and Muddy Waters were central to Richards, Jagger, and Brian Jones, but drummer Charlie Watts was trained in another form of American music – jazz.

“I was 12 and I heard Earl Bostic play ‘Flamingo’,” Watts recalls. San Diego Union-Tribune in 1991, “And when I was 13, I went out and bought a Gerry Mulligan record called ‘Walking Shoes’. I had heard Chico Hamilton play with the brushes on “Walking Shoes”, and – bingo!– I wanted to play the drums.

Neither Bostic nor Mulligan were themselves drummers; they were saxophonists. But the sound of jazz, namely the furious rhythms, captivated a young Watts. The impression it left on him would last a lifetime, and he’s proud that the Stones’ best records had the same effect on the generations that followed his.

“I still love Gerry Mulligan, and to this day I play this record; the same goes for Charlie Parker, ”he added. “When I play ‘Walking Shoes’ now, I’m still 13, I’m young. It always does that to me. A lot of people will say, “I love a record the Stones made,” and it has a lot to do with what they did then, when they were young, because now they’re old.

Continuing, Watts added: “I don’t know why I should be talking about Charlie Parker at 50 again, but he’s always been a part of my life,” he said. “He is the stallion by which I judge all records, unconsciously. I don’t know what it was like with him, I really can’t tell you (because) it’s very hard to explain. I could put on a record and say, ‘Here we are, that’s what I love and still love – I’ve loved it for 30 years.’ But other than that, I don’t know.

Watts also hilariously claimed that he “never liked Elvis until I met Keith Richards” and that “The only rock’n’roll player I ever loved when I was young. was Fats Domino “. Obviously, Watts eventually turned to rock and roll and spent almost 60 years defining what it meant to be a constant workaholic behind the kit for the world’s best rock band.

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Corina C. Butler