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Was the Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts the best in drums?

Written by on September 5, 2021

Some people bash on Watts for being boring, not technically skilled, not flashy, not powerful, and so on… and you can ignore them because they don’t know what drumming (or music) means.

The Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts Dies at 80

First and foremost, Watts was in a band — a unit, a team. This team’s mission was to make music that people liked. A drummer, unlike a guitarist or pianist, is rarely a solo performer. And so, a drummer’s principal role is to serve the music by serving the band.

Watts’s flashy contemporary Keith Moon did exactly this as well, but only because he was in The Who. His style would’ve been dead wrong in The Rolling Stones (with the exception of perhaps a few songs) and possibly every other band of the time. Conversely, Watts would’ve weakened The Who as a team — not because he’s incapable or a lesser drummer, but because he was the wrong drummer for that band.

You can play this game with any of the big-time rock drummers of that era — Baker, Starr, Bonham, Mitchell, and on and on — and the result is the same. They were perfect for that band and that music at that time.

8 Songs That Prove Charlie Watts Was the Coolest Rolling Stone

So yes, Watts was not just a good drummer, he was a great drummer. He sat back, did his job, and did it well, and he was a consummate team player. There was no drama, no crash and burn, no overdoses, no missing in action — just consistent, reliable, sharp, on-the-money Charlie Watts — for 60 years.

Let me make that abundantly clear — 60 years. Every album. Every tour.

That’s the guy you want on your team, if your team was The Rolling Stones.


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