Gene Seymour is a critic who has written about music, movies and culture for The New York Times, Newsday, Entertainment Weekly and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @GeneSeymour. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. View more opinion on CNN.

(CNN)I always thought it was a laugh-out-loud joke on rock ‘n’ roll that its best and most widely respected drummer was an abiding, committed and knowledgeable jazz hound.

Charlie Watts, who died Tuesday at 80 years old, provided the legs for the Rolling Stones in their rise to superstardom and, in doing so, set the standard for what the known world regards as pure, undiluted rock ‘n’ roll. But Watts kept faith and, often, time with jazz music, most especially the post-World War II modernist movement labeled “bebop,” whose energies were as insurgent, paradigm-shifting and Dionysian as those propelling the Stones toward front-and-center of the rock-pop universe.Indeed, Watts often called pounding the trap set for Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ron Wood and the rest of the Stones’ revolving cast of players his “day job,” while finding time to elsewhere engage in the kind of on-the-spot polyrhythmic invention practiced by such bop-era jazz giants as Kenny Clarke, Max Roach, Roy Haynes and Art Blakey. Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesFive decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesOn April 16, 1964, the Rolling Stones released their first album in Britain, simply titled "The Rolling Stones." (It was released in America six weeks later.) That album would be the first of more than 25 studio releases, several live recordings, and a number of compilations. Mick Jagger has been fronting the Rolling Stones since the band formed in London in 1962. "I'll never tour when I'm 50," he said when he was 29. But when the band wrapped up its 50th anniversary tour, Jagger had just turned 70. On April 16, 1964, the Rolling Stones released their first album in Britain, simply titled "The Rolling Stones." (It was released in America six weeks later.) That album would be the first of more than 25 studio releases, several live recordings, and a number of compilations. Mick Jagger has been fronting the Rolling Stones since the band formed in London in 1962. "I'll never tour when I'm 50," he said when he was 29. But when the band wrapped up its 50th anniversary tour, Jagger had just turned 70. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesOn April 16, 1964, the Rolling Stones released their first album in Britain, simply titled “The Rolling Stones.” (It was released in America six weeks later.) That album would be the first of more than 25 studio releases, several live recordings, and a number of compilations. Mick Jagger has been fronting the Rolling Stones since the band formed in London in 1962. “I’ll never tour when I’m 50,” he said when he was 29. But when the band wrapped up its 50th anniversary tour, Jagger had just turned 70. Hide Caption 1 of 52From left, Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Bill Wyman and Brian Jones carry their bags past London's Donmar Rehearsal Theatre in 1963.From left, Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Bill Wyman and Brian Jones carry their bags past London's Donmar Rehearsal Theatre in 1963. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesFrom left, Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Bill Wyman and Brian Jones carry their bags past London’s Donmar Rehearsal Theatre in 1963.Hide Caption 2 of 52The Rolling Stones receive bouquets from fans in New York during their first US tour in June 1964.The Rolling Stones receive bouquets from fans in New York during their first US tour in June 1964. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones receive bouquets from fans in New York during their first US tour in June 1964.Hide Caption 3 of 52The band gets ready to perform on the American musical variety show "Shindig" in 1965.The band gets ready to perform on the American musical variety show "Shindig" in 1965. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesThe band gets ready to perform on the American musical variety show “Shindig” in 1965.Hide Caption 4 of 52The Rolling Stones leave London on a flight to New York on June 23, 1966. It was before the start of their fifth North American tour.The Rolling Stones leave London on a flight to New York on June 23, 1966. It was before the start of their fifth North American tour. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones leave London on a flight to New York on June 23, 1966. It was before the start of their fifth North American tour.Hide Caption 5 of 52Paul McCartney of the Beatles, left, sits across from Jagger on a train at London's Euston Station in 1967.Paul McCartney of the Beatles, left, sits across from Jagger on a train at London's Euston Station in 1967. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesPaul McCartney of the Beatles, left, sits across from Jagger on a train at London’s Euston Station in 1967.Hide Caption 6 of 52Jagger sits in a London recording studio during the filming of director Jean-Luc Godard's "Sympathy For the Devil" in 1968.Jagger sits in a London recording studio during the filming of director Jean-Luc Godard's "Sympathy For the Devil" in 1968. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger sits in a London recording studio during the filming of director Jean-Luc Godard’s “Sympathy For the Devil” in 1968.Hide Caption 7 of 52Jagger performs with the Rolling Stones in central London's Hyde Park in 1969. His then-girlfriend Marianne Faithfull watches from behind the photographers.Jagger performs with the Rolling Stones in central London's Hyde Park in 1969. His then-girlfriend Marianne Faithfull watches from behind the photographers. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger performs with the Rolling Stones in central London’s Hyde Park in 1969. His then-girlfriend Marianne Faithfull watches from behind the photographers.Hide Caption 8 of 52Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards holds his son Marlon alongside Anita Pallenberg, the mother of his first three children, and Jagger in 1970.Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards holds his son Marlon alongside Anita Pallenberg, the mother of his first three children, and Jagger in 1970. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesRolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards holds his son Marlon alongside Anita Pallenberg, the mother of his first three children, and Jagger in 1970.Hide Caption 9 of 52Jagger and his new bride, Bianca Perez Morena de Macias, make their way through the crowds on their wedding day in St. Tropez, France, in 1971.Jagger and his new bride, Bianca Perez Morena de Macias, make their way through the crowds on their wedding day in St. Tropez, France, in 1971. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger and his new bride, Bianca Perez Morena de Macias, make their way through the crowds on their wedding day in St. Tropez, France, in 1971.Hide Caption 10 of 52Jagger returns to his seat during a cricket match between England and Australia in 1972.Jagger returns to his seat during a cricket match between England and Australia in 1972. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger returns to his seat during a cricket match between England and Australia in 1972.Hide Caption 11 of 52Daily Express entertainment writer David Wigg interviews Jagger in 1973.Daily Express entertainment writer David Wigg interviews Jagger in 1973. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesDaily Express entertainment writer David Wigg interviews Jagger in 1973.Hide Caption 12 of 52The Rolling Stones record a music video for the song "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)" in 1974. The video, filmed in London, was directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg.The Rolling Stones record a music video for the song "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)" in 1974. The video, filmed in London, was directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones record a music video for the song “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)” in 1974. The video, filmed in London, was directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg.Hide Caption 13 of 52Jagger takes a break during rehearsals for a show in 1975.Jagger takes a break during rehearsals for a show in 1975. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger takes a break during rehearsals for a show in 1975.Hide Caption 14 of 52Jagger empties a bucket of water on stage at the 1976 Knebworth Festival in Hertfordshire, England.Jagger empties a bucket of water on stage at the 1976 Knebworth Festival in Hertfordshire, England. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger empties a bucket of water on stage at the 1976 Knebworth Festival in Hertfordshire, England.Hide Caption 15 of 52Jagger and his wife, Bianca, spend an evening at Chez Castel in Paris in 1977.Jagger and his wife, Bianca, spend an evening at Chez Castel in Paris in 1977. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger and his wife, Bianca, spend an evening at Chez Castel in Paris in 1977.Hide Caption 16 of 52The Stones film a music video for the song "Respectable" in 1978.The Stones film a music video for the song "Respectable" in 1978. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesThe Stones film a music video for the song “Respectable” in 1978.Hide Caption 17 of 52Jagger arrives at a London court in 1979 to go over his divorce settlement with Bianca. They were married for nine years.Jagger arrives at a London court in 1979 to go over his divorce settlement with Bianca. They were married for nine years. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger arrives at a London court in 1979 to go over his divorce settlement with Bianca. They were married for nine years.Hide Caption 18 of 52Jagger performs in 1980 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.Jagger performs in 1980 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger performs in 1980 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.Hide Caption 19 of 52Jagger returns to his New York apartment after attending a Jimmy Cliff show in 1981.Jagger returns to his New York apartment after attending a Jimmy Cliff show in 1981. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger returns to his New York apartment after attending a Jimmy Cliff show in 1981.Hide Caption 20 of 52Jagger looks out at the crowd during a 1982 concert at Wembley Stadium in London.Jagger looks out at the crowd during a 1982 concert at Wembley Stadium in London. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger looks out at the crowd during a 1982 concert at Wembley Stadium in London.Hide Caption 21 of 52Jagger and then-girlfriend Jerry Hall attend an opening at the Mizuno Gallery in Los Angeles in 1983. Jagger and Hall were married for nine years starting in 1990.Jagger and then-girlfriend Jerry Hall attend an opening at the Mizuno Gallery in Los Angeles in 1983. Jagger and Hall were married for nine years starting in 1990. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger and then-girlfriend Jerry Hall attend an opening at the Mizuno Gallery in Los Angeles in 1983. Jagger and Hall were married for nine years starting in 1990.Hide Caption 22 of 52Jagger has makeup applied backstage in 1984.Jagger has makeup applied backstage in 1984. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger has makeup applied backstage in 1984.Hide Caption 23 of 52Jagger performs at Live Aid in Philadelphia on July 13, 1985.Jagger performs at Live Aid in Philadelphia on July 13, 1985. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger performs at Live Aid in Philadelphia on July 13, 1985.Hide Caption 24 of 52From left, Paul McCartney, Jagger and David Bowie take the stage together at London's Wembley Arena in 1986.From left, Paul McCartney, Jagger and David Bowie take the stage together at London's Wembley Arena in 1986. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesFrom left, Paul McCartney, Jagger and David Bowie take the stage together at London’s Wembley Arena in 1986.Hide Caption 25 of 52Jagger and Jerry Hall spend a day at a beach in Barbados in 1987.Jagger and Jerry Hall spend a day at a beach in Barbados in 1987. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger and Jerry Hall spend a day at a beach in Barbados in 1987.Hide Caption 26 of 52Jagger and Bruce Springsteen share a microphone during the Beatles' induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.Jagger and Bruce Springsteen share a microphone during the Beatles' induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger and Bruce Springsteen share a microphone during the Beatles’ induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.Hide Caption 27 of 52Jagger and Keith Richards take the stage in 1989, when the Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.Jagger and Keith Richards take the stage in 1989, when the Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger and Keith Richards take the stage in 1989, when the Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.Hide Caption 28 of 52Jagger performs in the Netherlands during the Urban Jungle Tour in 1990.Jagger performs in the Netherlands during the Urban Jungle Tour in 1990. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger performs in the Netherlands during the Urban Jungle Tour in 1990.Hide Caption 29 of 52Jagger poses for a portrait in France in 1991.Jagger poses for a portrait in France in 1991. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger poses for a portrait in France in 1991.Hide Caption 30 of 52Jagger and Jerry Hall leave the Shaftesbury Theatre in London in 1992.Jagger and Jerry Hall leave the Shaftesbury Theatre in London in 1992. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger and Jerry Hall leave the Shaftesbury Theatre in London in 1992.Hide Caption 31 of 52Jagger plays Keith Richards, right, on a "Saturday Night Live" episode in 1993. Mike Myers, center, was playing the part of Jagger.Jagger plays Keith Richards, right, on a "Saturday Night Live" episode in 1993. Mike Myers, center, was playing the part of Jagger. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger plays Keith Richards, right, on a “Saturday Night Live” episode in 1993. Mike Myers, center, was playing the part of Jagger.Hide Caption 32 of 52The Rolling Stones perform at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards.The Rolling Stones perform at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones perform at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards.Hide Caption 33 of 52Jagger takes the stage in 1995.Jagger takes the stage in 1995. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger takes the stage in 1995.Hide Caption 34 of 52Jagger parties with Slash, the Guns N' Roses guitarist, at a club in London in 1996.Jagger parties with Slash, the Guns N' Roses guitarist, at a club in London in 1996. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger parties with Slash, the Guns N’ Roses guitarist, at a club in London in 1996.Hide Caption 35 of 52Jagger has his picture taken on a subway in New York in 1997.Jagger has his picture taken on a subway in New York in 1997. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger has his picture taken on a subway in New York in 1997.Hide Caption 36 of 52Jagger attends the final match of the 1998 World Cup.Jagger attends the final match of the 1998 World Cup. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger attends the final match of the 1998 World Cup.Hide Caption 37 of 52Jagger and Keith Richards perform on stage in London during their Bridges to Babylon Tour in 1999.Jagger and Keith Richards perform on stage in London during their Bridges to Babylon Tour in 1999. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger and Keith Richards perform on stage in London during their Bridges to Babylon Tour in 1999.Hide Caption 38 of 52Jagger and Jerry Hall leave The Ivy Restaurant in London after Hall's debut in the stage production of "The Graduate" in 2000.Jagger and Jerry Hall leave The Ivy Restaurant in London after Hall's debut in the stage production of "The Graduate" in 2000. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger and Jerry Hall leave The Ivy Restaurant in London after Hall’s debut in the stage production of “The Graduate” in 2000.Hide Caption 39 of 52Jimmy Fallon acts like Jagger's reflection during a "Saturday Night Live" skit in 2001.Jimmy Fallon acts like Jagger's reflection during a "Saturday Night Live" skit in 2001. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJimmy Fallon acts like Jagger’s reflection during a “Saturday Night Live” skit in 2001.Hide Caption 40 of 52From left, Charlie Watts, Jagger, Ron Wood and Keith Richards pose in front of a Rolling Stones blimp after arriving in New York in 2002.From left, Charlie Watts, Jagger, Ron Wood and Keith Richards pose in front of a Rolling Stones blimp after arriving in New York in 2002. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesFrom left, Charlie Watts, Jagger, Ron Wood and Keith Richards pose in front of a Rolling Stones blimp after arriving in New York in 2002.Hide Caption 41 of 52Jagger addresses the crowd during a show in Munich, Germany, in 2003.Jagger addresses the crowd during a show in Munich, Germany, in 2003. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger addresses the crowd during a show in Munich, Germany, in 2003.Hide Caption 42 of 52Rolling Stone magazine founder Jann Wenner, left, is presented an award by Jagger and Ahmet Ertegun during the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.Rolling Stone magazine founder Jann Wenner, left, is presented an award by Jagger and Ahmet Ertegun during the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesRolling Stone magazine founder Jann Wenner, left, is presented an award by Jagger and Ahmet Ertegun during the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.Hide Caption 43 of 52From left, Jagger, David A. Stewart and Variety editor-in-chief Peter Bart attend a Golden Globes after-party in 2005. Jagger and Stewart, best known for his work with the Eurythmics, formed a supergroup called Super Heavy with Joss Stone, Damian Marley and A.R. Rahman.From left, Jagger, David A. Stewart and Variety editor-in-chief Peter Bart attend a Golden Globes after-party in 2005. Jagger and Stewart, best known for his work with the Eurythmics, formed a supergroup called Super Heavy with Joss Stone, Damian Marley and A.R. Rahman. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesFrom left, Jagger, David A. Stewart and Variety editor-in-chief Peter Bart attend a Golden Globes after-party in 2005. Jagger and Stewart, best known for his work with the Eurythmics, formed a supergroup called Super Heavy with Joss Stone, Damian Marley and A.R. Rahman.Hide Caption 44 of 52The Rolling Stones perform the Super Bowl halftime show in 2006.The Rolling Stones perform the Super Bowl halftime show in 2006. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones perform the Super Bowl halftime show in 2006.Hide Caption 45 of 52Jagger and Keith Richards perform in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2007.Jagger and Keith Richards perform in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2007. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger and Keith Richards perform in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2007.Hide Caption 46 of 52From left, Charlie Watts, Jagger, director Martin Scorsese, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood attend the opening ceremony of the Berlin International Film Festival in 2008.From left, Charlie Watts, Jagger, director Martin Scorsese, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood attend the opening ceremony of the Berlin International Film Festival in 2008. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesFrom left, Charlie Watts, Jagger, director Martin Scorsese, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood attend the opening ceremony of the Berlin International Film Festival in 2008.Hide Caption 47 of 52Jagger and Bono of U2 perform together during a concert at New York's Madison Square Garden in 2009. It was marking the 25th anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.Jagger and Bono of U2 perform together during a concert at New York's Madison Square Garden in 2009. It was marking the 25th anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger and Bono of U2 perform together during a concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 2009. It was marking the 25th anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.Hide Caption 48 of 52Jagger leaves his hotel in France during the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.Jagger leaves his hotel in France during the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger leaves his hotel in France during the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.Hide Caption 49 of 52The Rolling Stones perform during the 2011 Grammy Awards.The Rolling Stones perform during the 2011 Grammy Awards. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones perform during the 2011 Grammy Awards.Hide Caption 50 of 52Jagger watches the 2012 Olympic Games in London with his girlfriend, American fashion designer L'Wren Scott. Scott died in 2014.Jagger watches the 2012 Olympic Games in London with his girlfriend, American fashion designer L'Wren Scott. Scott died in 2014. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger watches the 2012 Olympic Games in London with his girlfriend, American fashion designer L’Wren Scott. Scott died in 2014.Hide Caption 51 of 52Jagger takes center stage at the Glastonbury Festival in England on June 29, 2013. It was the Rolling Stones' first appearance at the event. Showing no signs of slowing down, Jagger thanked fans for following the band through the years.Jagger takes center stage at the Glastonbury Festival in England on June 29, 2013. It was the Rolling Stones' first appearance at the event. Showing no signs of slowing down, Jagger thanked fans for following the band through the years. Photos: Five decades of Mick Jagger and the Rolling StonesJagger takes center stage at the Glastonbury Festival in England on June 29, 2013. It was the Rolling Stones’ first appearance at the event. Showing no signs of slowing down, Jagger thanked fans for following the band through the years.Hide Caption 52 of 52mick jagger intro1963 mick jagger1964 mick jagger1965 mick jagger1966 mick jagger1967 mick jagger1968 mick jagger1969 mick jagger1970 mick jagger1971 mick jagger1972 mick jagger1973 mick jagger1974 mick jagger1975 mick jagger1976 mick jagger1977 mick jagger1978 mick jagger1979 mick jagger1980 mick jagger1981 mick jagger1982 mick jagger1983 mick jagger1984 mick jagger1985 mick jagger1986 mick jagger1987 mick jagger1988 mick jagger1989 mick jagger1990 mick jagger1991 mick jagger1992 mick jagger19931994 mick jagger1995 mick jagger1996 mick jagger1997 mick jagger1998 mick jagger1999 mick jagger2000 mick jagger2001 mick jagger2002 mick jagger2003 mick jagger2004 mick jagger2005 mick jagger2006 mick jagger2007 mick jagger2008 mick jagger2009 mick jagger2010 mick jagger2011 mick jagger2012 mick jagger2013 mick jaggerThere was even a 2017 book, “Charlie Watts’ Favorite Drummers,” collecting Watts’ quotes about every percussionist he learned something from, including swing-era notables like Jo Jones and Sid Catlett.Read MoreEvery once in a while, Watts, wry, dry and self-effacing on- and offstage, would let his jazz flag fly in public, leading an all-star big band of British jazz musicians in a 1986 tour and helming his own quintet, which in 1992 recorded a tribute album to bebop’s greatest innovator, Charlie Parker. Even Watts’ onstage manner and general deportment were redolent of the cool, crisply tailored jazz beaux; his attention to fashion detail was something a committed clothes horse like Miles Davis might relate to. But the guess here is that what really would have impressed Miles Davis was what Watts did on his “day job.” The most flamboyant of trap set players would be challenged to lay down the “big beat” of rock drumming with Charlie Watts’ precise timing and unobtrusive virtuosity. As far back as 1966’s “Paint It Black,” Watts’ presence is strong enough to make itself known along with Jagger’s insolent growl, Richards’ rhythm guitar, Bill Wyman’s bass and the late Brian Jones’ sitar (unusual at its time, though not for much longer). And yet, here as with just about any Stones track you can remember at any tempo, Watts somehow finds a way to both drive and contain everybody in the group. To use an analogy, Watts could set the table and keep it steady enough to keep everything added to it from spilling over. Don’t take my word for it. Listen to (let’s say) “19th Nervous Breakdown,” “Tumbling Dice,” “Midnight Rambler,” or (of course) “It’s Only Rock and Roll.” Get our free weekly newsletter

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So consummate was Watts at containment and control that one wondered which of the Stones’ three longest-lasting members, Jagger, Richards or Watts, would be the hardest to lose. I guess we’re about to find out. One more thing: shortly after Watts’ death, I came across one of those if-it’s-not-true-it-should-be quotes from somewhere or another that while for generations there were millions of fans who aspired to be Rolling Stones, the actual Stones aspired to be Charlie Watts. Paraphrasing James Brown, one of Watts’ multitude of fans, let’s all give this drummer some.

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