Mick Jagger has paid tribute to bandmate Charlie Watts, joining names from across the music world remembering The Rolling Stones drummer following his death aged 80.
Watts’ death was confirmed by his publicist on Wednesday (Australian time) and while social media was brimming with mournful tributes, his closest comrades perhaps couldn’t find the words.
Jagger shared a picture on Twitter of Watts playing the drums, sporting a huge smile. He did not add a caption.
The tributes for Watts came as a British animal rescue trust shared one of the last photos of the drummer. It was showed Watts and his wife, Shirley, on the day they adopted their greyhound Suzie.
We feel like we’ve lost a member of the Forever Hounds Trust family,” the charity wrote on Facebook.
“This photo was taken just last year when our greyhound Suzie was lucky enough to be adopted by this lovely family. We will never forget the joy that day bought everyone.”
Stones guitarist Keith Richards also joined in the tributes to his former bandmate – with a simple shot on social media an empty drum kit, with a sign that said ‘closed’.
Watts was a “cherished husband, father and grandfather” and died peacefully in hospital surrounded by his family, his publicist said in a statement.
He had been a member of The Rolling Stones since 1963 and had been called “one of the greatest drummers of his generation”. But Watts always wanted to be even better.
In a 2008 video posted to The Rolling Stones YouTube Channel, he confessed his frustration that he wasn’t the best at his craft.
“One of the faults in my playing, I never learned to play. I learned by watching. I should have gone to school and learned how to do it. I should’ve gone to classes,” Watts said.
“I learned by watching the great drummers in London … and American players when they came over.”
“There’s so much to learn. You think you’ve cracked it, and you are all right, and you go to this little club in New Orleans and [there’s] some guy nobody’s heard of except five of his mates who play in the band, and he’s a great little drummer.”
Despite that, Watts managed to make a lasting impression on some of the world’s greatest rock stars.
Sir Elton John posted a picture of the pair and said in a Twitter post: “A very sad day. Charlie Watts was the ultimate drummer.”
“The most stylish of men, and such brilliant company. My deepest condolences to Shirley, Seraphina and Charlotte. And of course, The Rolling Stones.”
Watts’ death comes just weeks after it was announced the drummer, who celebrated his 80th birthday in June, was going to miss the band’s forthcoming US tour due to health issues.
He is one of just three band members to have appeared on every record and he never missed a show in 58 years.
Other tributes came on Wednesday from Beatles members Sir Ringo Starr and Sir Paul McCartney.
Starr tweeted a picture, writing: “God bless Charlie Watts, we’re going to miss you man, peace and love to the family, Ringo.”
Sir Paul McCartney posted a video on Twitter, in which he said: “So sad to hear about Charlie Watts, Stones drummer, dying. He was a lovely guy.
“I knew he was ill, but I didn’t know he was this ill, so lots of love to his family, his wife and kids and his extended family, and condolences to the Stones, it’ll be a huge blow to them because Charlie was a rock, and a fantastic drummer, steady as a rock.”
Queen drummer Roger Taylor said on Instagram: “How sad, we’ve lost a true gentleman. The immaculate beating heart of the Rolling Stones.”
Taylor’s bandmate Brian May also posted a picture of Watts on Instagram, writing: “For some people this might be a cliche – but in Charlie’s case it’s the absolute truth – he was the nicest gent you could ever meet.
“And such a pillar of strength for the Rolling Stones – to whom he brought a touch of Jazz and a mountain of pure Class. Bless you Charlie. Rest in Peace and Rock on.”
The Who frontman Roger Daltrey described Watts as “the perfect gentleman, as sharp in his manner of dress as he was on the drums”.
“Charlie was a truly great drummer, whose musical knowledge of drumming technique, from jazz to the blues, was, I’m sure, the heartbeat that made The Rolling Stones the best rock and roll band in the world,” Daltrey said in a statement.
Rocker Alice Cooper also paid tribute, saying the music world had lost “one of rock and roll’s true gentlemen”.
“I consider him the greatest pocket drummer of all time,” Cooper said.