After nearly 60 years of keeping time for the transcendent rock group, the Rolling Stones, beloved drummer Charlie Watts has died at 80 years old. After the news broke on August 24, bandmates, contemporaries, artistic predecessors, and fans flooded social media with condolences, memories, and other touching tributes to honor the great icon. Best remembered as an understated member of the fantastical rock outfit, Watts maintained priority status as a family man throughout his spanning career in the spotlight. Along with his enduring rock legacy, Watts leaves behind his wife of 57 years, Shirley, his daughter, Seraphina, and granddaughter, Charlotte.
Praise rolled in on Twitter from friends of Watts, including Elton John:
“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 Charlott. And of course, The Rolling Stones.”
As a fellow drummer of another era-defining band, the Beatles’ Ringo Starr bid adieu to the icon with an old photo of the two icons holding a drumstick between them.
“#God bless Charlie Watts we’re going to miss you man peace and love to the family Ringo.”
Paul McCartney shared his condolences to Watts’ family and the Stones in a video message. McCartney praised him as a “fantastic drummer,” further describing Watts as “steady as a rock.”
Joan Baez—another contemporary of the Stones in their simultaneous climb to popularity—remembered the late legend with a photo of a portrait she painted of Watts as part of a series last year.
“In 2020 I painted his portrait as part of a series on my musician friends. Charlie Watts. A prince among thieves. A gentleman through and through. Rest in Peace.”
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson—drummer and joint frontman for the hip hop band the Roots—was one of many successors of Watts’ spanning impact to post a tribute after the news of his passing. The artist captioned a photo of Watts from the early days with high praise, touting him “The heartbeat of Rock & Roll.”
Imaginably heartbroken by his loss, frontman and longtime bandmate Mick Jagger shared a jubilant photo of his friend sitting at his throne—behind a drumkit. If Jagger was at a loss for words, the photo captures the spirit of Watts’ undying legacy as the backbone of so many enduring Rolling Stones classics.
Similarly, guitarist Keith Richards took to social media to share a chilling photo of Watts’ abandoned post. The photo features an intricate drum kit, with a ‘closed’ sign hanging from a mic. Watts is the third-longest standing member behind Jagger and Richards. Without their drummer, the sound that brought the Rolling Stones to such infamy will never be the same.
Ronnie Wood paid tribute to his friend with a short, sweet note with a photo of the two of them. Wood came aboard in 1975 after playing with Faces and the Jeff Beck Group.
“I love you my fellow Gemini — I will dearly miss you — you are the best.”