Keith Richards Remembers Heartbreaking Moment With Late Rolling Stones Drummer Charlie Watts

by Matthew Memrick
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The show must go on, and when the late drummer Charlie Watts gave his blessing for Steve Jordan to take his spot, it was a heartbreaking moment for Keith Richards and the Rolling Stones.

Richards told The Daily Mail recently that “the last thing he wanted to do was a tour without Charlie.” But Watts said, “look, go on with Steve.” 

The band knew Jordan and Watts had a longtime friendship, and the drummer’s blessing meant a lot going forward.

Watts started with the band in 1963. He was with the Rolling Stones until his death in August at age 80.

Jordan’s Rolling Stones Transition

At first, Richards said he thought life without Watts would be tough with another man. He called it “a leap in the dark.”

But Jordan, who’s now the youngest in the band at 64, has lived up to Watts’ energy on stage.

Richards said, “so far, so good” with Jordan’s chops. He said the band has had “great energy and great fun” on their current No Filter tour. The tour started its North American tour earlier this month.

This new foursome still has its tour moments, and Mick Jagger still finds it strange for the band without Watts.

Jagger told SiriusXM DJ Howard Stern about their rehearsals with Watts. The lead singer fondly remembered Watts for his peculiar style of saying one thing and then doing things differently. But the lads fit together so well, and Jagger described Watts as the heartbeat of the Rolling Stones.

Jagger on Watts: He Knew His Place

Watts suffered from a few health problems over the years. He also recovered from throat cancer in 2004, but the cause of his death is still not known. 

But he was extremely reliable and steady in his technique. Many in the band, including Jagger, liked the Rolling Stones drummer because he wasn’t “a diva.”

Jagger agreed with Richards on Watts’ decision to go with Jordan. In his words, the drummer told the band not to stop because of him. Watts related that he wanted his friends to keep playing.

Jagger responded, “so we did.”

Beatles vs. Stones Rivalry Renewed?

Recently, the Rolling Stones took Paul McCartney’s playful words to heart. Earlier this month, the former Beatle joked that Jagger’s band was a “blues cover band.”

Playfully, Jagger shot back at a recent Los Angeles tour stop performance. The singer said, “Paul McCartney is here. He’s gonna join us in the blues cover band.”

This war of words may have gone back to when The Rolling Stones were starting. Jagger’s band covered the Beatles’ hit “I Wanna Be Your Man.”

But soon after, the Rolling Stones got hot with their 1960s “Satisfaction” hit, and the rest is history. 

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