What words are there to say when your musical companion of half a century passes on? Words can’t really describe how important Charlie Watts was to the Rolling Stones‘ signature sound, so after the drummer’s death on Tuesday (Aug. 24) the band’s members made the strongest statement by keeping it simple.
Singer Mick Jagger posted a photo of an ecstatic Watts smiling with his whole body while seated at a drum kit, while guitarist Keith Richards offered up an even more poignant image: Watts’ simple drum kit featured a “Closed, Please Call Again” sign hanging off the snare drum. Guitarist Ron Wood also used a picture to sum up his feelings about his bandmate, tweeting out an image of the two men smiling side by side with the caption, “I love you my fellow Gemini — I will dearly miss you — you are the best,” followed by praying hands, heart and sun emoji.
Watts, who Richards frequently referred to as the long-running band’s “engine room,” died Tuesday at age 80, his rep announced. Watts had just exited the band’s upcoming U.S. tour to allow him to recover from an unspecified medical procedure. The beloved drummer was honored by a galaxy of fellow rock and pop stars, including Elton John, KISS, the Beatles’ Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Joan Jett, Lenny Kravitz and Pearl Jam, among many others.
The Who guitarist Pete Townshend also remembered his late friend, offering up a photo of a double rainbow on Instagram, along with an inspiring message of hope and love. “Full Moon. Rainbow. Always a sign. Charlie Watts wept at Keith Moon’s funeral. I wish I was capable of such tears today. Instead I just want to say goodbye,” he wrote, recalling the tears Watts shed at the memorial for The Who drummer who died in September 1978 at age 32.
“Not a rock drummer, a jazz drummer really, and that’s why the Stones swung like the Basie band!!” he added in a nod to Watts’ legendarily laid-back style. “Such a lovely man. God bless his wife and daughter, and I’ll bet the horses will miss him too.”
Check out their tributes below.
— Keith Richards (@officialKeef) August 24, 2021
— Mick Jagger (@MickJagger) August 24, 2021
I love you my fellow Gemini ~ I will dearly miss you ~ you are the best🙏❤️☀️ pic.twitter.com/aMYTGWikxB
— Ronnie Wood (@ronniewood) August 25, 2021