Charlie Watts of The Rolling Stones has passed away, leaving many of his contemporaries in the music business feeling heartbroken over the news. On Tuesday, the band announced that Watts had died at the age of 80 in a London hospital surrounded by his family. Because Watts has been one of the most talented drummers of the past 60 years, he served as an inspiration for many, and that influence can be felt in the many, many tribute posts online.
Posting a reactionary video to Twitter, Paul McCartney of The Beatles said, “So sad to hear about Charlie Watts, the Stones drummer, dying. He was a lovely guy. I knew he was ill, but I didn’t know it was this [bad]. Lots of love to his family, wife and kids and extended family, and condolences to the Stones. A huge blow to them, because Charlie was a rock and a fantastic drummer. Steady as a rock. Love you Charlie, always loved you. Beautiful man.”
Ringo Starr, McCartney’s fellow Beatle, posted a photo of himself and Watts with drumsticks. It’s an amazing photo given the respective legacies of the two drummers. Starr also wrote, “#God bless Charlie Watts we’re going to miss you man peace and love to the family Ringo.”
A post from Elton John reads: “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.”
“Charlie Watts was the most elegant and dignified drummer in rock and roll,” tweeted Joan Jett. “He played exactly what was needed – no more – no less. He is one of a kind.”
Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys added, “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.”
Another tweet from Joe Elliott of Def Leppard reads: “Devastating news , those in the know know he was the heart & soul of the band …. I had the absolute pleasure of meeting him a few times, a total gentleman… it goes without saying he will be sorely missed .. RIP Charlie.”
“Sad to hear of Charlie Watts passing,” writes Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready. “The Rolling Stones have always been my favorite band, and Charlie was the engine of subltle and heavy grooves. I’ll put on “Sway” which is my favorite song of all time. Any of us in a rock band wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for Charlie.”
And another tribute post from Duran Duran states: “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.”
We truly lost a legend of music history with the passing of Charlie Watts. The music of the Rolling Stones will never, ever be the same without Charlie on the drums, but it is more obvious than ever that the iconic drummer’s star will forever shine brightly. Rest in peace, Charlie Watts. You can see what others are saying about the late drummer on social media below.