Charlie was originally a graphic artist, before embarking on his journey as a drummer. He was a jazz enthusiast and joined the Rolling Stones as a drummer back in 1963. He made his first public appearance as a permanent member in February 1963 and remained with the group for 58 years.
It’s been over a year since the death of Charlie Watts’. His career streak is really admiring and the way of instrumental playing he had was very passionate. He was the band’s signature and was a contributor to Rolling Stones’ heavy sound. He is not really mentioned among others like John Bonham and Keith Moon but he is one of the most influential rock drummers.
Watts was the jazzman behind the scene. His drumming took the band to reach heights they could only think of. Behind every song, the beat was very recognizable and made many songs memorable. The Stones would not have been the same without Watts. Here is a list of songs to prove it.
Rolling Stones Songs that Charlie Watts Made Better
Undercover of The Night (1983)
The song is about political corruption in Central America. Back in the 80s when the song was released, the use of electronic drums was not that much. But in this song, the way the drum sounds is just natural. Also, the song had an outside influence on the band. The way the song sounds is just something that broke the way they sounded before the song, and the album.
Moon is Up (1994)
Fun fact, Charlie Watts played drums using a trash can in this song. Still, the drum sounds full, warm, and brilliant. It is more subdued and sparse, which makes the song much better. Stones loved experimenting and they were not lazy. But, still, it was just him doing his job but doing his job ‘Well’.
Keith explained the production of the song,
“That song had been around since Ireland, and everybody was fascinated with it. The song was suddenly there, you know, and what are we going to do with it? To me, it was all tied in with Charlie. If Charlie Watts is willing to experiment in the studio, then I’m the happiest man in the world. It so happened that as we were trying this track out in different configurations, I put an acoustic guitar through a Leslie cabinet, Ronnie was playing pedal steel through some tiny little amplifier, and Mick was singing through the harp mike. The drums were the only thing that sounded unreal because they were real. So we fished around for a bit, and I said, ‘Well, what about playing on a suitcase outside?’ And before I know it, Charlie Watts is out there in the stairwell with a garbage can and brushes, and that’s the sound. After that, it was very hard to keep him out of the stairwell.” The Rolling Stones drummer added: “It’s a 4-flight stairwell, and I started off at the top, which is ‘Moon Is Up,’ and I ended up at the bottom playing ‘You Got Me Rocking and Thru and Thru…'”
19th Nervous Breakdown (1966)
The song title is about how Mick felt during a US tour in 1965. His statement with the Rolling Stones stated, “We had just done five weeks hectic work in the States and I said, ‘Dunno about you blokes, but I feel about ready for my nineteenth nervous breakdown.’ We seized on it at once as a likely song title. Then Keith and I worked on the number at intervals during the rest of the tour. Brian, Charlie, and Bill egged us on – especially as they liked having the first two words starting with the same letter.”
It was also all about adventure. This song was also a result of experimentation. Watts plays drum in this song as a jazz player and the song is a bliss to listen to.
Sympathy For The Devil (1968)
The song is about the dark side of a person, a man to be specific, and not about Satanism said, Jagger. Throughout the whole track Watts can be heard. He is very dependable and gets into the music.
Watts also had some things to say about the song and said, “We had a go at loads of different ways of playing it.” He continued, “In the end, I just played a jazz Latin feel.”
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
This song had the band’s career-defining guitar riff. It was one of the best in the rock and roll world. Watts has given his everything in this song. He starts slow and fills the drum when needed. The song, later on, became a standard as it was a massive song. Charlie made sure that everyone loved the song and everyone really did too. By the way, the guitar riff is similar to Marthe & the Vandellas “Dancing in the Street.” Keith was worried about the idea of the song.
Gimme Shelter (1969)
Gimme Shelter is all about bangs in the song. It comes with a band and ends with a bang. It is a beautiful song even though it could be eerie. The opening guitar lick is the start of the storm and Watt’s drum is lightning in the storm.
The mood of the song is very dark. Watts also channels the dark mood. What Watts brings in this song is a dark and great rhythmic throbbing.
Tumbling Dice (1972)
From the album Exile on Main St., the song starts with the most fluid guitar lick ever. Then drums of Watts roll the song into a delicacy. He is just there to make it seem so easy. The way the song rolls from the beginning to the end is a great bliss.
The song was originally called ‘Good Time Woman’ and it also had different lyrics. It was a top 10 in the Hot 100 hit. The studio version was a great one, but the live version with Watts in the drums makes it even better.
Honky Tonk Women (1969)
In the song, Jagger talks about going off with two different women. The first one is a “gin-soaked, bar-room queen in Memphis” who is obviously a prostitute. The second one is a “divorcee in New York City”. Mick also talked about how this song is for “all the whores in the audience.”
It is the finest song to come from Rolling Stones. Watts drums tune the whole song, and we all love his jangly beat. His stumbling intro which builds up is the best thing ever.
Paint It, Black (1966)
Heavily inspired by Eastern rhythms and instruments, this was another experimental flavor of the Rolling Stones. This was a new twist in the album, and Watt totally showed his challenging way of drumming. This is the only time where we see Watts being a bit showy. He slams, rolls, and attacks in the song.
To talk about the song was written from the viewpoint of a depressed person. He wants everything to turn black to match his mood. No specific inspiration is there for the lyrics.
Get Off of My Cloud (1965)
This psychedelic garage rock song was their second number-one on the Billboard Hot 100. It has one of the most unconventional drum structures. Watts plays the same 4/4 beat fill throughout the whole song. Still, we won’t be able to escape the drums at all.
The drums have all the attention as soon as the music starts. The effectiveness of this song is all in the 4/4 pattern of the drum. This song was a follow-up to the song ‘Satisfaction’ as people were demanding it a lot.