Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, who helped them become one of the greatest bands in rock 'n' roll, died today (August 24th, 2021) in London at the age of 80.
He had been a member of the Stones since January 1963, helping the Rolling Stones become the band (in the opinion of Len Rhodes...) who really took rock 'n' roll to the masses in the 1960s with classics like Satisfaction, Jumpin' Jack Flash, Midnight Rambler and Sympathy for the Devil.
"Charlie Watts gives me the freedom to fly on stage," Keith Richards later observed. His jazz-inflected swing gave the Stones' songs their swagger. He was at his best on the cowbell-driven Honky Tonk Women or the locked-down groove Gimme Shelter.
On and off the stage, he was quiet and reserved - sticking to the shadows and letting the rest of the band suck up the limelight.
"It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts," a statement said.
Tributes have been paid from across the music world, including from his Beatles counterpart Sir Ringo Starr.
Sir Elton John wrote: "A very sad day. Charlie Watts was the ultimate drummer. The most stylish of men, and such brilliant company."
Len grew up in the same area of South London where Charlie and other members of the Stones lived or "hung out". Bill Wyman lived on the same road, in Kenilworth Court on Clevedon Road, in Penge. Len and his family lived at 29 Clevedon Road.