When news broke on Tuesday that Charlie Watts had died, musicians and other celebrities took to social media to pay tribute to and celebrate the life of the legendary Rolling Stones drummer.
Known for being the steady backbone of one of the greatest rock bands in history, Watts was an authoritative and controlled drummer well into his 70s. Reviewing a Rolling Stones show in 2019, Variety‘s Chris Willman wrote, “Sitting at a minimalist kit and moving even more minimally with his casual jazz grip, [Watts looks] like the mild-mannered banker who no one in the heist movie realizes is the guy actually blowing up the vault.”
On Aug. 4, Watts withdrew from the Stones’ upcoming pandemic-postponed U.S. tour, citing the need to recover from an unspecified but “successful” recent medical procedure. On Tuesday, the band and Watts’ spokesperson announced that the drummer had died peacefully in a London hospital.
Mick Jagger honored his late friend and bandmate on Twitter, simply sharing a photo of Watts smiling.
— Mick Jagger (@MickJagger) August 24, 2021
Paul McCartney posted a video on Twitter, paying tribute to Watts. “Charlie was a rock and a fantastic drummer — steady as a rock.”
Paul on Charlie Watts ❤️ pic.twitter.com/rn2elK6cFE
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) August 24, 2021
Another Beatle, Ringo Starr, took to Twitter to honor his drumming peer. “#God bless Charlie Watts we’re going to miss you man peace and love to the family,” he wrote.
#God bless Charlie Watts we’re going to miss you man peace and love to the family Ringo 😎✌️🌟❤️🌈🎶☮️ pic.twitter.com/3tSFg7EMQG
— #RingoStarr (@ringostarrmusic) August 24, 2021
— #RingoStarr (@ringostarrmusic) August 24, 2021
“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.”
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.
@therollingstones #CharlieWatts #RIP pic.twitter.com/9rjSSgioZL
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) August 24, 2021
“A hero is gone. No words. A huge gaping hole in the universe,” Sheryl Crow said on Twitter.
A hero is gone. No words. A huge gaping hole in the universe.
RIP Charlie Watts. https://t.co/kLSaIF9JKn
— Sheryl Crow (@SherylCrow) August 24, 2021
The Roots drummer Questlove honored Watts on Instagram, writing, “The heartbeat of Rock & Roll. The Great Charlie Watts. All due respect.”
“Charlie Watts was the most elegant and dignified drummer in rock and roll,” Joan Jett wrote on Twitter. “He played exactly what was needed — no more — no less. He is one of a kind.”
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. pic.twitter.com/aasPZ2fMYX
— Joan Jett (@joanjett) August 24, 2021
Funk icon Nile Rodgers, who has led the band Chic since 1976, also offered kind words on Twitter, writing, “Rest In Power #CharlieWatts RIP. You are a smooth brother. Thanks for all the great music.”
Rest In Power #CharlieWatts RIP. You are a smooth brother. Thanks for all the great music. pic.twitter.com/ePlXpiiqNc
— Nile Rodgers (@nilerodgers) August 24, 2021
Liz Phair added, “RIP Charlie Watts… master of elegant simplicity.”
RIP Charlie Watts 🌘😞💙 master of elegant simplicity. (Thx @bradwood3 for the CW tutorials and lineage in my songs.) By thy grooves, we knew ye 💔 https://t.co/5iaZ2oSm8T
— Liz Phair (@PhizLair) August 24, 2021
See other reactions below:
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 . pic.twitter.com/Nu4msDShAF
— Duran Duran (@duranduran) August 24, 2021
Rock n roll would not be rock n roll without the rhythm, the style, the VIBE of this incredible musician. Rest In Peace #CharlieWatts, one of the greatest and most important architects of the music we love. pic.twitter.com/xEfzaSLCba
— Tom Morello (@tmorello) August 24, 2021
— The Who (@TheWho) August 24, 2021
#CHARLIEWATTS. The beat of The Stones. There are no words, every groove has spoken for itself.
6/2/41 – 8/24/21 pic.twitter.com/Lw2USKaxYH
— Lenny Kravitz (@LennyKravitz) August 24, 2021
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. pic.twitter.com/C4q2zXvVKo
— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) August 24, 2021
I first saw The @RollingStones in 1966 in the Bay Area and have been a fan ever since. Charlie Watts was one of the great drummers and will be missed. Rest easy Charlie pic.twitter.com/FQKOXiSUpG
— John Fogerty (@John_Fogerty) August 24, 2021
Drummers are the most ensnared individuals. Though they are loudest, they are the last to be heard. They have insecurities due to the fact that everyone has their back turned on them. Herein lies the band’s secret; there is no greatness- without a great drummer. RIP Charlie Watts pic.twitter.com/sAcE7SYiBY
— Perry Farrell (@perryfarrell) August 24, 2021
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 ❤️ -Joe Elliott@RollingStones #CharlieWatts https://t.co/AEpHjUNPHh
— Def Leppard (@DefLeppard) August 24, 2021
Such sad news about Charlie Watts.
A true original icon – Rick x #charliewatts pic.twitter.com/zrA3k1XQDh
— Rick Astley (@rickastley) August 24, 2021
RIP CHARLIE WATTS
— Liam Gallagher (@liamgallagher) August 24, 2021
Charlie’s drumming is powerful and unique. His approach is entirely his own and helped shape the sound of rock and roll. Blessings Charlie Watts.
— Robbie Robertson (@r0bbier0berts0n) August 24, 2021
from J: Miss you Charlie you’re the best#charliewatts pic.twitter.com/ch9CkhErFJ
— Dinosaur Jr (@dinosaurjr) August 24, 2021
thank you Charlie Watts 💔 pic.twitter.com/bKW1CwVGxD
— Margo Price (@MissMargoPrice) August 24, 2021
RIP Charlie Watts https://t.co/2iWBy6aNyV
— KISS (@kiss) August 24, 2021
There goes a hero. 🖤
Dear Charlie Watts. What a legend. Sad to see him go. pic.twitter.com/jYmEJlFnZ7
— Garbage (@garbage) August 24, 2021
In total shock Charlie Watts was a lovely guy. He will be sorely missed. Deepest sympathy to his wife, the band and all his family and friends. 1/2 #charliewatts @RollingStones
— Dave Davies (@davedavieskinks) August 24, 2021
So long, maestro 💔 pic.twitter.com/1IkfQpJKqo
— Tim Burgess (@Tim_Burgess) August 24, 2021
Charlie watts, my absolute favorite – much love and respect to you on your journey home – https://t.co/2fsjgWg5BK my thoughts go out to your loved ones and those that love you – RIP pic.twitter.com/RpTuldCHbU
— anton newcombe (@antonnewcombe) August 24, 2021
All of my hi hat technique I owe to Charlie . Thank you and RIP Charlie Watts.
— Lol Tolhurst (@LolTolhurst) August 24, 2021
Charlie Watts, drummer of the Rolling Stones, has died today. (August 24, 2021)
Listen to the Stones today in his honor.#CharlieWatts #RollingStones pic.twitter.com/xOMYh75xfs
— Roy Orbison Jr (@Royorbisonjr) August 24, 2021
RIP Charlie Watts. 😥
— nathan followill (@doctorfollowill) August 24, 2021
RIP Charlie Watts. X
— Sleaford Mods (@sleafordmods) August 24, 2021
Say it ain’t so! God.
There are no words.
Love to his family and band mates.
He was always so kind.
We’ve all lost a part of our musical souls.
— Richard Lewis (@TheRichardLewis) August 24, 2021
It is very sad to hear about losing Charlie Watts. Charlie was a great drummer. I will miss his understated grooves and time. He was very much his own person, both on the drums & the way he conducted himself in life. Unique. One of a kind. Cool. RIP Charlie" Roger Earl pic.twitter.com/20dKNQXpRN
— FOGHAT (@FOGHAT) August 24, 2021