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9 Things You Might Not Know About Charlie Watts

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by Gillian Ching (subscribe)
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Published September 1st 2021
Interesting facts about the unassuming rockstar
By Poiseon Bild & Text (press photo by a photographer of the consulting company Poiseon AG in St. Gallen, Switzerland)) - Flickr: The ABC & D of Boogie Woogie (Herisau, 13. Januar 2010), CC BY 2.0,

He was described as one of the greatest drummers of what many consider to be the greatest rock band ever, but Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts lived by his own unique beat.

With one of the biggest and most impressive back catalogues of music, featuring classics like 'Brown Sugar', 'Start Me Up', and 'Satisfaction', Charlie Watts sat behind the kit of the Rolling Stones for over 60 years after joining in 1964.

The sad news of Watts passing came on 24 August 2021, when he died peacefully surrounded by family at the age of 80.
While there is no doubting their musical supremacy with the Rolling Stones, there are many lesser-known things about Charlie's life that are a contradiction to the typical rock n roll lifestyle.

1. Charlie appreciated vintage and exotic cars.
Despite not driving or in fact possessing a driver's licence, Charlie Watts owned an impressive collection of luxury cars, including a Lamborgini and Maserati. He just liked to look at them because they are beautiful and listen to the humming sound of their purring engines.

2. He maintained a suave dress style
Unlike the casual jeans and t-shirt uniform of many rock stars, Charlie Watts had an eye for style. He wore perfectly cut, timeless and dignified Saville Row suits (often 3 piece), and fine, traditional outfits. His elegant suits saw him take on an aristocratic style with outfits created by bespoke tailors and shoemakers.

3. Charlie was a jazz fanatic
While he was the drummer of one of the world's leading rock n roll bands, Charlie was in fact a lifelong jazz aficionado. The Rolling Stones recruited Charlie from Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated in January 1963, not long after he'd been serving an apprenticeship with trad jazz bands,

4. He lived as a recluse
Unlike bandmates Keith Richards and the late Brian Jones, who embodied the hedonism and debauchery of the rock n roll lifestyle, Charlie Watts was largely a recluse. He lived quietly and out of the public light in Halsdon Manor, a 600-acre 16th Century estate in rural Devonshire with his wife in Shirley and donated generously to the community.

5. He ran an Arabian Horse stud farm
Charlie owned Halsdon Arabians and was a breeder of Polish Arabian horses with 300 horses in the stud. You can visit the site here.

6. He was married for 57 years
Charlie married his wife, then Shirley Ann Shepherd on 14 October 1967 and they remained married for over 5 decades. They had one daughter, Seraphina and a granddaughter, Charlotte.

7. He rarely gave interviews
Charlie was opposed to giving interviews for most of his career. Unlike lead singer Mink Jagger, who was in the public eye, there was even a 20-year period when Charlie didn't talk to the media at all.

8. Charlie Watts' net wealth
Charlies accumulated a net worth of $250 million. He was $100 million behind the world's wealthiest drummer, Sir Richard Starkey aka the Beatles, Ringo Starr.

9. He was a trained graphic designer
Charlie influenced the Stones in two ways beyond music: album covers and concert stage design. In terms of the band's Steel Wheels Tour in 1989, Charlie was heavily involved in the stage design for this tour alongside Mick and described the huge steel construction as "a piece of industrial waste!"
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Your Comment
I'm not a great Rolling Stones fan, but I've always admired Charlie for his quiet demeanor. Thanks for the details about him.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|3114) 21 days ago
What a wonderful insight into the man rather than the rock star.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|9003) 21 days ago
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