My letter December 31, 2015 to Charlie Watts (RIP Charlie Watts / The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter / ISOLATED DRUMS)

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First let us look at 58 years of pictures of Charlie Watts in the ROLLING STONES and then my letter that I wrote to him in 2015.

Photos: Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts remembered as one of ‘greatest drummers of his generation’.

The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park, London, in 1969: Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards.The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park, London, on June 13, 1969: Charlie Watts, left, Mick Taylor, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. (Evening Standard / Getty Images)

BY PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIMES WIRE SERVICES, TEXT BY STEPHEN THOMAS ERLEWINEAUG. 24, 2021 3:13 PM PT

Charlie Watts, the drummer who anchored the Rolling Stones throughout their reign as the World’s Greatest Rock & Roll Band, died on Tuesday. He was 80.

His death was announced by a spokesperson for the group: It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts. He passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today surrounded by his family.

“Charlie was a cherished husband, father and grandfather and also as a member of the Rolling Stones one of the greatest drummers of his generation.”

The cause of death was not disclosed. Watts had suffered from health problems in recent years, including a diagnosis of throat cancer in 2004.ADVERTISEMENT

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Earlier this month, Watts announced that he was unable to participate in the forthcoming leg of the Stones’ No Filter tour due to his health. He had not missed a Rolling Stones concert since joining the band in 1963.Mick Jagger drives Charlie Watts, Ron Wood and Keith Richards in a convertible car.Charlie Watts, left, Ron Wood, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones drive across the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City.(Kevin Mazur / WireImage)A black-and-white portrait, circa 1968, of Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts.Drummer Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones sits at his drums circa 1968. (Michael Ochs Archives)The Rolling Stones pose for a publicity photo in London circa 1965.A publicity photo of the Rolling Stones, taken in London circa 1965: Mick Jagger, clockwise from left, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, Brian Jones and Keith Richards. (Michael Ochs Archives)The Rolling Stones rehearse onstage for an appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1969.The Rolling Stones in rehearsal for their Nov. 19, 1969, appearance on the CBS variety program “The Ed Sullivan Show”: lead guitarist Mick Taylor, left, drummer Charlie Watts, singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards. (CBS Photo )A black-and-white photo of drummer Charlie Watts at his kit in 1975.Drummer Charlie Watts contemplates his kit during the Rolling Stones’ 1975 tour of the Americas. (Christopher Simon Sykes / Getty Images)ADVERTISEMENTA black-and-white photo of Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts in a striped suit.Drummer Charlie Watts, always dapper, is seen in a striped suit during the Rolling Stones’ 1975 tour of the Americas. (Christopher Simon Sykes / Getty Images)Charlie Watts, holding a cigarette, and Mick Jagger, with a drink, during the Rolling Stones' tour of the Americas in 1975.Charlie Watts and Mick Jagger take a break during the Rolling Stones’ tour of the Americas in 1975. (Christopher Simon Sykes / Getty Images)January 1965: Singer Mick Jagger and drummer Charlie Watts stand at a microphone.January 1965: Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts do a soundcheck before a Rolling Stones concert. (Keystone Features / Getty Images)The Rolling Stones in 1964, wearing houndstooth suits, with three of them holding guitars.The Rolling Stones in 1964: drummer Charlie Watts, front left and frontman Mick Jagger; guitarists Keith Richards, rear left, and Brian Jones and bassist Bill Wyman.(Hulton Archive / Getty Images)Best men Charlie Watts and Keith Richards flank just-married Ronnie Wood and Jo Howard in 1985.Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, second from left, celebrates at his Jan. 2, 1985, wedding to Jo Howard, flanked by best men Charlie Watts, left, and Keith Richards. (Dave Hogan / Getty Images)The Rolling Stones board a New York-bound plane at London Airport in 1964.The Rolling Stones — Brian Jones, left, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman — board a New York-bound plane at London Airport on Oct. 23, 1964. (Victor Boynton / Associated Press)Mick Taylor, Mick Jagger and Charlie Watts hold a press conference at the Bois de Boulogne in Paris in 1972.Guitarist Mick Taylor, left, singer Mick Jagger and drummer Charlie Watts at a press conference at the Bois de Boulogne in Paris in 1972.(Associated Press)Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts plays during the band's No Filter tour at NRG Stadium in 2019.Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts plays during the band’s No Filter tour at NRG Stadium on July 27, 2019, in Houston.(Suzanne Cordeiro / AFP )Mick Jagger, center, with his arms around the shoulders of Charlie Watts and Keith Richards.Musicians Charlie Watts, left, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones attend a screening of their documentary “Stones in Exile” at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in May 2010.(Evan Agostini / Associated Press)Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, right, performs behind singer Mick Jagger.Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, right, performs behind singer Mick Jagger during their concert at the Rose Bowl on Aug. 22, 2019, in Pasadena, Calif. (Chris Pizzello / Associated Press)

I have read over 40 autobiographies by ROCKERS and it seems to me that almost every one of those books can be reduced to 4 points.

Once fame hit me then I became hooked on drugs.

Next I became an alcoholic (or may have been hooked on both at same time).

Thirdly, I chased the skirts and thought happiness would be found through more sex with more women.

Finally, in my old age I have found being faithful to my wife (like Keith Richards is)and getting over addictions has led to happiness like I never knew before. (Almost every autobiography I have read from rockers has these points in it although Steven Tyler and Mick Jagger and Travis Barker are still chasing the skirts!!).

Charlie Watts breaks the mold. He has not really been addicted to drugs or alcohol or even chased the skirts. His wife and he have had a long marriage and have a happy family life it appears. I wish more rockers could have learned from his example. He hasn’t written an autobiography, but I read many stories about his life in Keith Richards autobiography!!!

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RIP Charlie Watts / The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter / ISOLATED DRUMS

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December 31, 2015

Charlie Watts

Dear Charlie,

Your music reminds me a lot about the Memphis Blues. I thought of your music when I heard the news today, “In 2 days, Mississippi River has risen 10 feet north of St. Louis.”

Everybody is now educating themselves on the great flood of 1927. The 1927 Great Mississippi Flood was the most destructive river flood in the history of the United States, causing over $400million in damages and killing 246 people in seven states and displaced 700,000 people.

My grandfather moved to Memphis in 1927 and he told me about this flood. There was a lady named Memphis Minnie and she wrote about this flood. I always heard that there was lots of great blues music that had come out of Memphis, but I always thought that was overstated and that the Blues was not a significant form of music. (Live and learn, the Blues music out of Memphis had a GREAT AFFECT ON MUSIC WORLDWIDE!!!)

However, at the same time I was listening to groups like Led Zeppelin and the ROLLING STONES, I had no idea that many of their songs were based on old Blues songs out of Memphis.

One of my favorite Led Zeppelin songs was “When the Levee breaks.” It was based on a song by Memphis Minnie.

There are many paths that people can take to deal with the Blues but the one found by many people in this area is to repent of their sins and embrace the gospel. Actually the answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

When I examine the Blues they are really an expression of one’s desperation to deal with the hard realities we face in life. Some seek escapism through alcohol or drugs. In fact, many famous Blues musicians have died from from addictions to drugs or alcohol!!

Francis Schaeffer.jpg
Francis A. Schaeffer
Francis A. Schaeffer  wrote something about the ROLLING STONES and I wanted to find out if you think he is correct or not:
At about the same time as the Berkeley Free Speech Move- 
ment came a heavy participation in drugs. The beats had not 
been deeply into drugs the way the hippies were. But soon 
after 1964 the drug scene became the hallmark of young 
people.
The philosophic basis for the drug scene came from Aldous 
Huxley's concept that, since, for the rationalist, reason is not 
taking us anywhere, we should look for a final experience, one 
that can be produced "on call," one that we do not need to 
wait for. The drug scene, in other words, was at first an ideol- 
ogy, an ideology that had very practical consequences. Some of 
us at L'Abri have cried over the young people who have blown 
their minds. But many of them thought, like Alan Watts, Gary 
Snyder, Alan Ginsberg and Timothy Leary, that if you could 
simply turn everyone on, there would be an answer to man's 
longings. It wasn't just the far-out freaks who suggested that 
you could put drugs in the drinking water and turn on a whole 
city so that the "pigs" and the kids would all have flowers in 
their hair. In those days it really was an optimistic ideological 
concept. 

So two things have to be said here. FIRST, the young people's 
analysis of culture was right, and, SECOND, they really thought 
they had an answer to the problem. Up through Woodstock 
(1969) the YOUNG PEOPLE WERE OPTIMISTIC CONCERNING DRUGS-- 
BEING THE IDEOLOGICAL ANSWER. The desire for community and 
togetherness that was the impetus for Woodstock was not wrong, of course. God has made us in his own image, and he 
means for us to be in a strong horizontal relationship with each 
other. While Christianity appeals and applies to the individual, 
it is not individualistic. God means for us to have community. 
There are really two orthodoxies: an orthodoxy of doctrine 
and an orthodoxy of community, and both go together. So the 
longing for community in Woodstock was right. But the path 
was wrong. 

AFTER WOODSTOCK TWO EVENTS "ENDED THE AGE OF INNOCENCE," 
to use the expression of Rolling Stone magazine. The FIRST 
occurred at Altamont, California, where the ROLLING STONES put 
on a festival and hired the Hell's Angels (for several barrels of 
beer) to police the grounds. Instead, the Hell's Angels killed 
people without any cause, and it was a bad scene indeed. But 
people thought maybe this was a fluke, maybe it was just 
California! IT TOOK A SECOND EVENT TO BE CONVINCING. 

On the Isle of Wight, 450,000 people assembled, and it was 
totally ugly. A number of people from L'Abri were there, and I 
know a man closely associated with the rock world who knows 
the organizer of this festival. Everyone agrees that the situation 
was just plain hideous. 

THUS, AFTER THESE TWO ROCK FESTIVALS THE PICTURE CHANGED. IT IS  
NOT THAT KIDS HAVE STOPPED TAKING DRUGS, FOR MORE ARE TAKING  
DRUGS ALL THE TIME. And what the eventual outcome will be is 
certainly unpredictable. I know that in many places, California 
for example, drugs are down through the high schools and on 
into the heads of ten- and eleven-year-olds. But drugs are not 
considered a philosophic expression anymore; among the very 
young they are just a peer group thing. It's like permissive 
sexuality. You have to sleep with a certain number of boys or 
you're not in; you have to take a certain kind of drug or you're 
not in. THE OPTIMISTIC IDEOLOGY HAS DIED. 

I was curious what you thought of these assertions. Thank you for your time and keep up the good work on your music. I have enjoyed it a great deal .

Everette Hatcher, cell phone 501-920-5733, everettehatcher@haltingarkansasliberalswithtruth

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