I was so sad to hear about Charlie. He was my favorite drummer and my favorite Stone. A quiet unassuming old school gentleman who went to bed with a good book on tour rather than groupies. In this way, he was an example to others of faithfulness to his wife and good manners ….except when he punched Jagger nearly out of a window in Amsterdam, but he deserved that of course.
It seems extraordinary that he ended up in the most famous Rock and Roll band in the world. He didn’t like playing rock as much as jazz where he started out drumming. But the Stones pursued him mercilessly when looking for a drummer. Charlie was their first choice.
It might seem strange to us now, but their early ambition was just to be the best blues band in London and play three or four nights a week in clubs. Charlie would be ideal for that, with his love of the jazzy swing beat. However, things didn’t quite turn out as they expected!
The popular music scene is full of the vain and pompous, the thrusting and the self-obsessed. We needed Charlie tapping reliably and emotionlessly away at the back of the stage on his battered, ancient, tiny kit. It was if he was destined by the gods to be there to remind us that the Jaggers of this world are an aberration fit only for the stage.
It’s not, in reality, how we would want people to be….