Rolling Stones legend Charlie Watts will be remembered for his drumming, his anti-rock’n’roll lifestyle and his impeccable sense of style.
But he’s also be remembered for punching Mick Jagger in the face.
Following the news that Watts has died aged 80, fans have been recalling one of the most iconic stories about the drummer, when he clashed with Rolling Stones frontman Jagger in 1984.
Keith Richards recounted the incident in his book Life, explaining that Watts lost his temper with his bandmate over his ever-inflating ego.
Richards wrote: ‘There was a rare moment, in late 1984, of Charlie throwing his drummer’s punch – a punch I’ve seen a couple of times and it’s lethal; it carries a lot of balance and timing. He has to be badly provoked.
‘We were in Amsterdam for a meeting, Mick and I weren’t on great terms at the time but I said c’mon, let’s go out and I lent him the jacket I got married in. We got back to the hotel about five in the morning and Mick called up Charlie. I said “Don’t call him not at this hour.” But he did, and said, “Where’s my drummer?” About 20 minutes later there was a knock at the door.
‘There was Charlie Watts, Savile Row suit, perfectly dressed…I could smell the cologne! I opened the door and he didn’t even look at me, he walked straight past me, got hold of Mick and said “Never call me your drummer again.”
‘Then he hauled him up by the lapels of my jacket and gave him a right hook. Mick fell back onto a silver platter of smoked salmon and began to slide towards the open window and the canal below.’
Richards noted that it ‘takes a lot to wind that man up’.
Watts and Jagger’s relationship was repaired over the years, and Jagger paid a simple tribute to his friend following the news of his death.
Jagger, 78, tweeted a picture of Watts smiling widely at his drum kit, and did not write a caption.
Richards, 77, also shared a picture of a drum kit, with a ‘closed’ sign hanging from it, while Ronnie Wood, 74, tweeted: ‘I love you my fellow Gemini ~ I will dearly miss you ~ you are the best.’
A host of other musicians, including Sir Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson, joined in on the tributes to the legendary drummer.
Watts died at a London hospital surrounded by his family, weeks after undergoing an unspecified medical procedure.
The star announced he would not be joining the band on the North American leg of their No Filter tour next month, and would be replaced by Steve Jordan.
His reps confirmed that he had a ‘completely successful’ procedure, but now ‘needs proper rest and recuperation’, adding: ‘With rehearsals starting in a couple of weeks it’s very disappointing to say the least, but it’s also fair to say no one saw this coming.’
Watts added: ‘For once my timing has been a little off.’
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