Late Rolling Stones Drummer Charlie Watts Once Punched Mick Jagger in the Face: Here’s Why

by Jonathan Howard

With the passing of Charlie Watts, Rolling Stones drummer, there has been an outpouring of stories. Fans and friends have shared their favorites. While Watts was known for being shy and mostly keeping to himself. So, when stories come out that show a different side of the musician, they are a bit shocking.

No story is more shocking than when the Rolling Stones were in Amsterdam, 1984. Watts had been in the band since 1963, but this was a trying time for the band. Tensions were high on the road and there were many arguments and uncomfortable conversations. After a jab from frontman Mick Jagger, Watts reared back and punch him in the face.

This was a period in time when the Stones were thinking about breaking up and parting ways for good. While in the meeting, according to Bill German in his book Under Their Thumb, Jagger mouthed off to Watts. “[Jagger said] something like, ‘None of this should matter to you because you’re only my drummer.” But, that wasn’t the only thing Jagger had done to irk Watts. The night before, he spent the night calling Watts’ hotel room and shouting, “Where’s my drummer?”

So, how did it happen exactly? Well, according to German’s book, the drummer went back to his room and stewed…but not for long. He soon got his shoes on, walked to Jagger’s room, and punched him. According to Keith Richards’ account of the event, Jagger fell back onto a room service cart. When asked by Richards where he had just come from in the hallway, Watts had the perfect reply.

“I’ve just punched Mick Jagger in the face,” and he kept on walking.

Remembering Stones Drummer Charlie Watts

Thankfully, despite the physical altercation, Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts were able to repair their relationship. The Rolling Stones are one of the most prolific Rock n’ Roll bands to ever exist. The music they made paved the way for generations of musicians throughout the years.

The band has an endless catalog of chart-topping performances and none of it would have been possible with the great Watts behind drums. Not only does a drummer give the band its rhythm and beat on stage, but Watts gave the band stability off stage. Over the years he has been regarded as the member of the Stones that was able to keep everyone grounded. As evidenced by the story above, if someone needed their face punched, Watts was going to do it.

As the band aged, the wild times and actions from the past calmed down. Even after being together for over 50 years, the band had no hard feelings towards one another. It was in 2015 when a fan asked one half-joking question to Charlie Watts. “Are you sick of seeing Mick’s arse after all these years?”

To which he replied: “No. It’s one of the finest views in the country.” Clearly, no hard feelings or grudges were held. Even if they were, Watts was not the one that was going to bring it up. Rest in peace to one of the greatest to sit on a throne.