The world of music pays tribute to Charlie Watts

Charlie Watts in 1965
(Image credit: Mark and Colleen Hayward/Getty Images)

The world of music has taken to social media to pay tribute to Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, who has died at the age of 80. His bandmates Mick Jagger and Keith Richards both posted pictures of Watts.

Paul McCartney released a video in which he said, "So sad to hear about Charlie Watts, the Stones drummer dying. He was a lovely guy, and I knew he was ill, but I didn’t know he was this ill. So lots of love to his family, his wife and kids, his extended family. 

"And condolences to the Stones, it will be a huge blow to them because Charlie was a rock. A fantastic drummer, steady as a rock. Love you Charlie. I’ve always loved you, beautiful man. Great condolences and sympathies to his family.”

"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."

“Full Moon. Rainbow. Always a sign," wrote The Who's Pete Townshend on Instagram. "Charlie Watts wept at Keith Moon’s funeral. I wish I was capable of such tears today. Instead, I just want to say goodbye. Not a rock drummer, a jazz drummer really, and that’s why the Stones swung like the Basie band! Such a lovely man. God bless his wife and daughter, and I’ll bet the horses will miss him too."

More tributes follow. 

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Ringo Starr: "God bless Charlie Watts. We’re going to miss you, man. Peace and love to the family, Ringo."

AC/DC: Our world just lost its much loved and respected beat.

Aerosmith: "We are extremely saddened to hear the passing of the legendary Charlie Watts. Our deepest condolences to Charlie’s family and The Rolling Stones. Sincerely, from the guys in Aerosmith you’ve given us all so much! RIP Charlie."

Roger Taylor: "How sad, we’ve lost a true gentleman. The immaculate beating heart of the Rolling Stones. Sad day indeed."

Alice Cooper: "Charlie Watts kept the beat for the world’s greatest rock band for over 50 years. I consider him the greatest pocket drummer of all time. Every time I would go backstage to see The Rolling Stones, Charlie was the first to greet me. He will be sorely missed and impossible to replace but I’ve no doubt The Stones will go on. My message to Charlie? Rest In Beat!"

Bob Seger: "So sad to hear the news of the loss of legendary Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts. His unforgettable rock solid backbeat will be remembered forever. Sending our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends."

Sebastian Bach: "RIP Charlie Watts. Somehow I had it in my brain that none of the Rolling Stones would ever die. When I think about Charlie's drumming I think of the song Emotional Rescue and the whole album Black And Blue, which is my favourite Stones album by far. A lifetime of inspiration."  

Kenney Jones: "I am so heartbroken to hear the news of Charlie Watts passing. I have so many fond memories of Charlie and will miss him dearly. My thoughts are with his family and all the Rolling Stones at this difficult time."

Stewart Copeland: "So sad to lose a unique, iconic drummer (and dancer). He was a quiet giant."

Sheryl Crow: "A hero is gone. No words. A huge gaping hole in the universe. RIP Charlie Watts."

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

Robin Hitchcock: "I thought those guys were immortal… RIP Charlie Watts, the motor in Britain’s sexiest beat group."

Joan Baez: Charlie Watts.⁣ A prince among thieves.⁣ A gentleman through and through.⁣ Rest in Peace.

The Tragically Hip: "Charlie Watts was the consummate gentleman and a huge inspiration to all of us in The Hip. Our hearts go out to his family, friends, and band mates."

Huey Lewis drummer Bill Gibson: "I’m saddened to hear that Charlie Watts has passed away. I was never fortunate enough to have met Charlie, but I have a few dear friends who were friends of his, and all accounts portray Charlie as a kind, caring, good man. Heaven’s band just got a little hipper.

Damon Hill: "I bumped into Charlie Watts once. In Ronnie Scott's. He looked surprised to see me 'What you doin here!' he asked. 'I've come to see you' I said. He looked perplexed. Because he had no ego."

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Nile Rodgers: Rest In Power Charlie Watts. You are a smooth brother. Thanks for all the great music.

Bryan Adams: "RIP Charlie Watts, one of the greatest rock drummers ever and a real gentleman. Condolences to his family and the band."

Irvine Welsh: "RIP Charlie Watts. Always steadfastly came over as a no-nonsense honest broker in a situation where the acclaim, wealth, pomposity and egotism could corrupt the sweetest of souls." 

Eric Idle: "Saddened by the loss of Charlie Watts. A kind and gentle man. He will be very missed."

Joan Jett: "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."

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Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.