Dear Friends,

I was gearing up to write something profound when the news broke that CHARLIE WATTS had died. Charlie who? I hear you say. He was the drummer with the Rolling Stones. It was in 1963 that he joined Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones (who died in 1969 and was replaced by Ronnie Wood) & Bill Wyman to form what was to become one of this country’s most iconic blues, rock & roll bands becoming as famous as the Beatles in their day. One of the oddest encounters I ever had was when holidaying in Luxembourg, finding myself staying in the same hotel as the group and meeting Richards and Wood over the breakfast buffet table. Charlie Watts was born in UCLH and brought up not far from the Suburb, in Kingsbury. Together with Bass guitarist Wyman, Charlie’s ‘job’ was to ensure that the driving rhythms that are at the heart of their music were maintained, whatever else may have going on around them and so allow the more flamboyant Jagger and Richards to flaunt themselves before the audience to the obvious delight of their many millions of fans. Charlie Watt’s lifestyle was the complete antithesis to that of Jagger and Richards. He was quiet and reserved for the most part; a family man, remaining faithful to his wife, Shirley, who he had married in 1964. He died peacefully in the company of his children and grandchildren. Such was the extent to which his talent was appreciated by those ‘on the inside’ of the music business, tributes are flooding in from the ‘good and the great’, all acknowledging that without CHARLIE WATTS there would not have been the Rolling Stones…Knowing many of you as I do, there will be a good number of you who have heard or played a Rolling Stones song; couldn’t even name one. But I am sure too that more than a few of you grew up with their music ringing in your ears…As with many such bands, the sheer ferocity of the Stones’ music tended to overshadow the words of the songs. A shame because when we take the time to read them, we realise that the poetry is every bit as profound, and often more so than anything I might have otherwise written in this letter. Take this example, an extract from a song entitled, ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, co-written by Jagger & Richards…

“Please allow me to introduce myself – I’m a man of wealth and taste

I’ve been around for a long, long year -Stole many a man’s soul and faith

And I was ’round when Jesus Christ – Had his moment of doubt and pain

Made damn sure that Pilate – Washed his hands and sealed his fate

Pleased to meet you – Hope you guess my name

But what’s puzzling you – Is the nature of my game”

…But of course, no one believes in the Devil any more, do they? Maybe it does us good to be reminded of such a ‘reality’, and who better to do so than those whom the church would describe somewhat patronisingly as the ‘devil’s disciples’…CHARLIE WATTS – RIP

Charlie who?