CHARLIE WATTS
DRUMS


Born: 2 June, 1941, in Wembley, Middlesex. His father, Charles, worked as a parcels lorry driver for British Hail at Kings Cross Station. When Charlie was 14, his father and mother, Lilly, gave him a 12 drum set. He played along with modern jazz records, and when he joined the Stones he listed Gil Evans and George Russell as his favourite composers.
He was educated at Tyler's Croft Secondary Modern School where he won prizes for Art and English.
He then spent three years at Harrow School of Art. In 1961 he wrote and illustrated a sail book an the life
of saxophonist Charlie Parker which was first published in December 1964.
Charlie began playing in public with a group called Blues By Five at the Troubadour Club in Chelsea and
later joined Alexis Korner's Blues lncorporated.
Charlie: 'I met Alexis in a club somewhere and he asked me if 1'd play drums for him. A friend of mine, Andy Webb, said l should join the band, but l bad to go to Denmark to work in design, so l sort of lost touch with things. While l was away,
Alexis formed his band, and l carne back to England with Andy. I joined the band with Cyril Davies and Andy used to sing with us. We had same great guys in the band, like Jack Bruce. These guys knew what they were doing. We were playing at a club in Ealing and they, Brian, Mick and Keith, used to come along and sometimes sit in. It was a lot different then. People used to come up and the stand and have a go and the whole thing were great.'
He joined The Rolling Stones in January 1963 but continued to work at Charles Hobson and Grey, a firm
of advertising agents, until the group was able to turn professional.
At an early Stones gig, he met Shirley Ann Shepherd and without telling the others, they were married on 14 October, 1964, at Bradford Register office in Yorkshire.
They lived in Paddington, in West London, then, when the Stones began to make money, bought the former home of Lord Shaweross in Lewes, Sussex, where Shirley was able to build a proper sculpture studio and Charlie to indulge his passion for American Civil War artefacts.

On first glance, Charlie Watts would seem to be a funny choice to include in a jazz book for he is the long-time drummer of the Rolling Stones. However, jazz was Watts' first love and in the 1980s he toured worldwide with a huge big band that included many of England's top musicians (giving one a chance to hear Evan Parker play "Lester Leaps In!"). In 1991, he organized an excellent bop quintet (featuring artist Peter King) that paid tribute to Charlie Parker, justifying Watts' place in any jazz history book

Children:

18 Mar 68 Seraphina (Charlie and Shirley)

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