‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Star LL Cool J Reveals He Used to Rap to One Rolling Stones Song in Charlie Watts Tribute

by Josh Lanier

NCIS: Los Angeles star LL Cool J joined the chorus of people paying their respects to legendary Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts. Watts, who was the drummer for the iconic rock band for 58 years, died earlier this week. He was 80.

LL Cool J said in an Instagram post he got his start learning how to rap using Watts’ drumbeat on “Honky Tonk Woman.”

Guitarist Keith Richards gets most of the credit for Rolling Stones’ driving sound. But Watts’ drums were always in the back of the track, punctuating the legendary guitarists’ work.

Or as Bruce Springsteen once wrote, “When Mick (Jagger) sings, ‘It’s only rock ‘n’ roll but I like it,’ Charlie’s in back showing you why!”

Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich shared a similar sentiment after the band announced Watts had died.

“People sit there and go, ‘Yeah, I’m dancing along with Mick Jagger,’” Ulrich told Rolling Stone magazine. “No, you’re dancing along with Charlie Watts”

Charlie Watts was often overlooked in the bands’ sound. Mostly because his quiet demeanor allowed him to hide behind brash Richards or cocky Mick Jagger.

Questlove, the legendary drummer of The Roots, paid tribute to Charlie Watts in Rolling Stone magazine recently. He took Watts showed him how a drummer could stand out by fitting into a band.

“And I will say that those first five to six years in the Roots, to maintain that discipline, especially in a genre that wanted complete flash and trickery, my motivation in the back of my mind was always that Watts became a legend not because of who he was associated with, but because he’s providing the foundation.”

Rolling Stones to Continue U.S. Tour

Fans began to worry about Charlie Watts‘ health earlier this year when the band announced he wouldn’t take part in the No Filter USA 2021 tour. Steve Jordan, a longtime associate of the band, replaced him.

“It is an absolute honor and a privilege to be Charlie’s understudy,” Jordan said at the time.

He’ll remain there for the tour as the band said it will continue on as Charlie Watts would have wanted.

“The band want to make the show a celebration of his life,” a source told The Sun. “He was like a brother to them but they know he would have hated the thought of them canceling shows.

Charlie had given them his blessing to tour without him following his operation, so they will honor his wishes.”

Watts said after having surgery earlier this month that he didn’t want to let fans down and postpone the tour again.

“After all the disappointment with delays to the tour caused by COVID, I really don’t want the many Stones fans in the States who have been holding tickets to have another postponement or cancellation,” he said in a statement.

The tour begins Sept. 26 in St. Louis.