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"Official" Charlie Watts biography by Paul Sexton due out 11 Oct 2022
Posted by: Cristiano Radtke ()
Date: July 1, 2022 17:30

Official’ Charlie Watts Biography, Authorized by Rolling Stones and Drummer’s Family, on the Way

Charlie’s Good Tonight: The Authorised Biography of Charlie Watts, due out Oct. 11, includes forewords from both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards



By Daniel Kreps


An “official” biography about late Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, authorized by both the band and Watts’ family, will arrive this fall.

Charlie’s Good Tonight: The Authorised Biography of Charlie Watts includes forewords from both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and a prelude from the band’s former manager/producer Andrew Loog Oldham.

The book was penned by author-broadcaster Paul Sexton, who has followed the Stones for over 30 years. Charlie’s Good Tonight features new interviews with Jagger, Richards, and Ronnie Wood, as well as “countless” family members, friends, and collaborators to paint a portrait of the very private drummer. Watts died on August 24, 2021, at the age of 80.

“Our dear friend Charlie Watts was not just a fantastic drummer but a wonderful person,” the Rolling Stones said in a statement. “He was funny and generous and a man of great taste and we miss him terribly. It’s great that his family have authorized this official biography by Paul Sexton, who’s been writing and broadcasting about Charlie and the band for many years.”

Sexton added in a statement, “One of Charlie’s good friends said to me that he was a very easy man to love. Having had the pleasure of his company on so many occasions over the course of more than a quarter of a century, that’s a sentiment I echo wholeheartedly. To be able, with the help and encouragement of those who knew him best, to draw on my time with this unique man and his fellow Rolling Stones to write his authorized biography, is a thrill and an honor.”

Charlie’s Good Tonight: The Authorised Biography of Charlie Watts — out Oct. 11 in the U.S. via HarperCollins Publishers — also features exclusive and unseen photographs of Watts, provided by those in his inner circle.

“My father was an intensely humble and private person off the stage, who relished and protected his private time at home with us,” Watts’ daughter Seraphina said in a statement. “We were so very touched by the outpouring of love and support from all his fans when he died. We’re very happy and grateful that Paul, who interviewed my father many times over many years, and whom my father liked and respected, is the one writing this very special book about this very special man.”

[www.rollingstone.com]



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2022-12-16 13:26 by bv.

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: Irix ()
Date: July 1, 2022 17:35


Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: rebelrebel ()
Date: July 1, 2022 18:01

Thank you for the info. Very much look forward to reading this.

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: VoodooLounge13 ()
Date: July 1, 2022 18:40

Hasn't this been published already? Maybe I'm misremembering, but I seem to recall reading somewhere that Paul had published this book, and Charlie was quite pleased with it. I think all that's new are the forewords, no?

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: bye bye johnny ()
Date: July 1, 2022 18:46

Thanks, Cristiano.

From the publisher:



Charlie's Good Tonight

The Life, the Times, and the Rolling Stones: The Authorized Biography of Charlie Watts

By Paul Sexton
On Sale: October 11, 2022

256 pages
$27.99

The fully authorized and official biography of legendary Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, one of the world’s most revered and celebrated musicians of the last half century.

Charlie Watts was one of the most decorated musicians in the world, having joined the Rolling Stones, a few months after their formation, early in 1963.

A student of jazz drumming, he was headhunted by the band after bumping into them regularly in London’s rhythm and blues clubs. Once installed at the drum seat, he didn’t miss a gig, album or tour in his 60 years in the band. He was there throughout the swinging sixties, the early shot at superstardom and the Stones' world conquest; and throughout the debauchery of the 1970s, typified by 1972's Exile on Main St., considered one of the great albums of the century. By the 1980s, Charlie was battling his own demons, but emerged unscathed to enhance his unparalleled reputation even further over the ensuing decades.

Watts went through band bust-ups, bereavements and changes in personnel, managers, guitarists and rhythm sections, but remained the rock at the heart of the Rolling Stones for nearly 60 years—the thoughtful, intellectual but no less compelling counterpoint to the raucousness of his bandmates Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood. And this is his story.

[www.harpercollins.com]

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: Irix ()
Date: July 1, 2022 22:50

From The Rolling Stones:

"Coming out this September is Charlie’s Good Tonight: The authorised biography of Charlie Watts written by Paul Sexton, who has been writing and broadcasting about Charlie and the Rolling Stones for many years."



[Twitter.com] , [www.Facebook.com] , [www.Instagram.com]

"Official" Charlie Watts biography - "Charlie's Good Tomight
Posted by: bye bye johnny ()
Date: July 1, 2022 23:12


[twitter.com]

So the authorised version comes our a month earlier than the authorized version...

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography - Charlie's Good Tonight
Posted by: Irix ()
Date: July 1, 2022 23:15

Quote
bye bye johnny

So the authorised version comes our a month earlier than the authorized version...

North America vs. Europe - [www.Amazon.com] , [www.Amazon.co.uk] .

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: windmelody ()
Date: July 1, 2022 23:20

This sounds promising.

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: 24FPS ()
Date: July 1, 2022 23:22

Not a word about Bill, his closest mate in the band? Won't be a thick book. He's probably the least scandal free, but for a foray into hard drugs in the 80s. No known groupies. Just a damn good drummer.

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: Lady Jayne ()
Date: July 2, 2022 00:06

Quote
24FPS
Not a word about Bill, his closest mate in the band? Won't be a thick book. He's probably the least scandal free, but for a foray into hard drugs in the 80s. No known groupies. Just a damn good drummer.

Was Bill his closest mate in the band? I had the impression, certainly in later years, it was Jagger. They certainly were seen together in London and at sporting events more than other Stones. And I think you mean Charlie was the mostscandal free.
I'm pleased they have got a move on with a fully authorised biography so quickly after his death.

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: ProfessorWolf ()
Date: July 2, 2022 09:53

i'm sure bill has contributed in some way

anyway i can't wait to read this

sounds like it's gonna be a wonderful addition to my stones library

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: Cristiano Radtke ()
Date: August 17, 2022 20:03



Mojo magazine, October 2022

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: Irix ()
Date: August 17, 2022 20:25

A more readable version of above picture:


Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: Cristiano Radtke ()
Date: August 17, 2022 21:23

Quote
Irix
A more readable version of above picture:

Thank you, Irix!

A funny story, from The Times:

"Charlie’s Good Tonight, a new biography of the late Rolling Stone Charlie Watts, says that stardom rarely went to his head, but after their 1969 US tour his wife, Shirley, intervened. “He came home full of conceit about being a member of the Rolling Stones,” she recalls. “So I made him clean the oven.” Everything turned to marigolds, which got him off of his cloud, and made him mother’s little helper."

[www.thetimes.co.uk]

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: ProfessorWolf ()
Date: August 18, 2022 06:28

i'm looking forward to this book more then any stones book since life

anyone else?

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: treaclefingers ()
Date: August 18, 2022 06:35

Yeah this will be the one to get this year.

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: Spud ()
Date: August 18, 2022 12:20

This is going to be a book that makes you cry .

[for all the right reasons ]

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: ChrisL ()
Date: August 18, 2022 13:36

Quote
Lady Jayne
Quote
24FPS
Not a word about Bill, his closest mate in the band? Won't be a thick book. He's probably the least scandal free, but for a foray into hard drugs in the 80s. No known groupies. Just a damn good drummer.

Was Bill his closest mate in the band? I had the impression, certainly in later years, it was Jagger. They certainly were seen together in London and at sporting events more than other Stones. And I think you mean Charlie was the mostscandal free.
I'm pleased they have got a move on with a fully authorised biography so quickly after his death.

Obviously I don't know anything for sure, but when I met Bill at his book signing a few months ago in London he called Charlie his best friend. Of course, who knows if the feeling was mutual.

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: Lady Jayne ()
Date: August 18, 2022 17:08

Quote
ChrisL
Quote
Lady Jayne
Quote
24FPS
Not a word about Bill, his closest mate in the band? Won't be a thick book. He's probably the least scandal free, but for a foray into hard drugs in the 80s. No known groupies. Just a damn good drummer.

Was Bill his closest mate in the band? I had the impression, certainly in later years, it was Jagger. They certainly were seen together in London and at sporting events more than other Stones. And I think you mean Charlie was the mostscandal free.
I'm pleased they have got a move on with a fully authorised biography so quickly after his death.

Obviously I don't know anything for sure, but when I met Bill at his book signing a few months ago in London he called Charlie his best friend. Of course, who knows if the feeling was mutual.

That's a sweet quote to share.

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: MadMax ()
Date: August 19, 2022 00:02

This read is gonna make me cry, I miss you so enormously Charliesad smiley

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: TrulyMicks1 ()
Date: August 24, 2022 15:30

Quote
MadMax
This read is gonna make me cry, I miss you so enormously Charliesad smiley

I think so too but hope it will be comforting as well. Looking forward to it.

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: Phil Good ()
Date: August 24, 2022 16:19

I have not read all the posts above.
But did anybody already ask why there isn't also
a foreword by Bill Wyman?
Bill should have been in there.

(Beg your pardon if this was already discussed)

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: ProfessorWolf ()
Date: August 24, 2022 18:28

Quote
Phil Good
I have not read all the posts above.
But did anybody already ask why there isn't also
a foreword by Bill Wyman?
Bill should have been in there.

(Beg your pardon if this was already discussed)

i don't know

but as one of charlie's close friends i'd be surprised if he wasn't involved in the creation of the book



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2022-08-24 18:28 by ProfessorWolf.

"Charlie’s Good Tonight: the Authorised Biography of Charlie Watts" extract in the Times
Posted by: slane82 ()
Date: September 2, 2022 17:27

EXCLUSIVE BOOK EXTRACT
Charlie Watts: ‘Mick, I’m not your drummer. You’re my vocalist’

A year after the death of the legendary Rolling Stones drummer, Paul Sexton talks to Mick, Keith and Charlie Watts’ family about the man they loved

Paul Sexton
Friday September 02 2022, 2.00pm BST, The Times

From his silver hair to his handmade shoes, Charlie Watts was approximately 68 inches of understated style. I recall once visiting him in his hotel suite in Amsterdam during a European tour, everything laid out just so and with a Miles Davis album playing gently. His fondness for wide lapels and statement cuts helped him present a more imposing figure than suggested by his modest frame. Jeans and trainers were beneath his contempt. He was the elegant uncle you never had. Backstage, he could even carry off the bathrobe with the Stones’ tongue and lips logo.

Mick Jagger explained amusingly that, at the end of a show, his bandmate would only join him, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood stage front to take a bow when he had finished fiddling with his drumsticks, arranging them into a neat row before he would leave the stool. When he went on Desert Island Discs, he said a friend had pointed out that his would be the neatest island ever.

“I always believed that he had OCD,” says Charlie’s granddaughter, Charlotte. “We would mess with him. I can remember getting home and going down to the dressing room and moving one pair of socks and swapping it over with another pair. They’d be colour-coded. You’d time how long before you heard, ‘Who’s touched my stuff?’ ”

There were times, his family admit, when Charlie’s style sense beat his common sense hands down. “He came to visit me at boarding school in upstate New York and we’d had terrible snow, several feet, freezing, and he hadn’t packed for it. I’d seen this twice – his absolute refusal to buy the right shoes for snow. He came out with Tesco bags wrapped around his shoes. And we had to walk him up the hill for breakfast. Mortifying.”

Charlie had the ability, both intentional and otherwise, to sum up a story, a situation or a life with a crisp uppercut. “Five years working, 20 years hanging around,” was among Charlie’s most famous one-liners, but there were many more. When the Summer of Love drew to a close, Charlie was on amusing form with Melody Maker about its presence in his neighbourhood. “When flower power started, it was probably fantastic,” he mused. “But now it has become a funny word, like rock’n’roll. There is even a shop in Lewes which has got ‘Herrings are flower power’ written up in that white stuff on the window. I suppose they’ll have ‘Sprats are LSD’ next.”

The first time his relationship with Bill Wyman came into our conversation in 1991, he was entertainingly forthright. “Bill’s got a wonderful sense of humour. But certain things bother him that I a) wouldn’t even think about, and b) would have forgotten about. If Bill says on August 4, 1963, we weren’t paid for playing at wherever, well, the bloke still owes us the money and it irks him. For 30 years, he’s harboured this resentment.” He added with clear affection, “He’s an angry young man, that one.”

“I don’t know why,” reflects Bill, “but then we became this great rhythm section that everybody admired and we were always on time, always ready, always available, always sober… We were the bedrock that they just went loony on, basically. If you ever see any of the videos, you can see me and Charlie at the back laughing at them, when they’re doing all that crazy stuff they used to do, jumping off beds and going through walls and things.”

“His philosophy is, ‘I only need so much,’ ” the Stones’ early manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, once said of Charlie. “He has settled for that and not digressed for the bullshit.” Even in his first flush of fame, Charlie was telling the music press, “I give the impression of being bored, but I’m not really. I’ve just got an incredibly boring face.”

Almost every time we met, Charlie would mutter something about not coming close to par with any of his percussive heroes. This might hint at a lack of self-awareness, but it was founded on a sense of English reserve and humility that was better developed than anyone’s. Brian Jones, even as he began his slalom of substance-based deterioration, described him as “probably the most detached and well-adjusted person on this whole pop scene”.

In the opening couplet of If You Can’t Rock Me, the opening track from It’s Only Rock’n’Roll, Mick sings, “The band’s on stage and it’s one of those nights…/ The drummer thinks that he is dynamite.” He certainly wasn’t talking about Charlie. To him, arrogance was simply uncouth. He knew who he was and he didn’t change, with the exception of a relatively short period of narcotic madness in the Eighties.

The nadir of the Rolling Stones usually centres on the Dirty Work album of 1986 and Ronnie Wood says that you can measure how unharmonious the Jagger-Richards marriage was at that stage by the fact that he achieved four co-writes on it. Mick is routinely held up as the baddie of that time because by then he’d signed his own deal with CBS and released She’s the Boss, the first of two solo albums in two and a half years, and toured with his own band.

An alternative point of view, one recounted by Tony King, who was a key part of the Rolling Stones machine for a quarter of a century, is that Mick felt the Stones were in no shape to tour and the new casualty, starting an unfashionably late habit in his mid-forties, was Charlie. His surprising decline into serious overindulgence came to a head during the sessions for Dirty Work. All the Stones were at the Kensington Roof Gardens for a live insert into the 1986 Grammy Awards, in which Eric Clapton presented them with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Two things stood out: one, the absurdity of the fact that the Stones had not only never won a Grammy before, but weren’t even nominated for one until 1978; the other, how skeletally unhealthy Charlie looked.

Herein lies a story that has assumed almost mythological status. The incident took place in either Amsterdam or New York. Mick either was or wasn’t wearing Keith’s dinner jacket. Charlie either laid a blow on Mick or he didn’t. Mick fell into a plate of smoked salmon and almost went out the window or he didn’t.

“Keith has invented a new idea of that,” says Bill. “He says it was in Amsterdam and he saved Mick from going out the window. Complete invention! Keith does that. It was in New York and Mick was entertaining all these celebrities in his hotel suite. I was told this by Paul Wasserman, who was our publicity guy, because he was there. None of the rest of us was there. Keith was asleep.

“Charlie came down, like he was bored, again, looking for somewhere with someone still up and awake. So he comes down, he walks in and Mick goes [to his friends], ‘Oh, it’s Charlie. This is my drummer.’ And Charlie just lost it. He went, ‘I’m not your f***ing drummer; you’re my f***ing vocalist,’ and he went whack and knocked him right across the room. Of course, all these celebs were in total shock and Charlie just walked out.”

Bill continues his received version of events. “Mick said, ‘He must be drunk,’ and the phone rang and they said, ‘Oh, it’s Charlie. I think he wants to come down and apologise.’ So there was a knock on the door again. Mick went there and Charlie said, ‘And don’t you forget it,’ and hit him again.”

To my surprise, Mick doesn’t dismiss the subject when we speak in the lead-up to 2022’s Sixty tour. “I might have said that, but it’s not really the worst thing in the world you can say about anybody, is it? It was sort of a friendly thing. And he didn’t knock me out or even hit me. I remember I was near a balcony, then the security people said, ‘That’s enough.’ ”

Keith has another memory of Charlie losing control. “Some loudmouth had said something. We were in a restaurant somewhere, I think in America… Charlie gave his order, then he stood up and walked around to this guy. He said, ‘I heard what you said,’ and bang. This guy was on the f***ing floor.”

Thankfully, and still in time, Charlie looked in the literal and metaphorical mirror. “I was personally in a hell of a mess and, as a result, I wasn’t really aware of the problems between Mick and Keith and the danger these posed to the band’s existence… I don’t know what made me do it that late in life, although in retrospect I think I must have been going through some kind of midlife crisis. I had never done any serious drugs when I was younger, but at this point in my life I went, ‘Sod it. I’ll do it now,’ and I was totally reckless.

“Some people are able to function like that, but for me it was very dangerous, because I’m the sort of person that could become a casualty quite easily. I just don’t have the constitution. This phase lasted a couple of years, but it took a long time for me, and my family, to get over it.”

Charlie refuted the idea of him as the sensible one in the Stones. “I’m not that sensible,” he said. “But I never used to indulge in anything to excess until about [the age of] 45, so the male menopause, you might say. And I very nearly killed myself. I don’t mean overdosing. I mean I nearly killed myself spiritually. I nearly ruined my life.

“Now, luckily, thanks to my wife, I’ve stopped everything. I’d never broken anything in my life and I broke my ankle, going down to the cellar to get yet another bottle of wine at my home. I was playing at Ronnie’s [Scotts] in about three months’ time. I’d booked the orchestra in there. And I thought, ‘This is it. It’s ridiculous. What have you done?’

“Looking back, it’s silly what I used to do, just over that little period. Accidents happen easily that way… You’re liable to fall down and break your neck.”

The hard-drug spiral certainly endangered Charlie’s marriage, but eventually he had the strength to recognise what he was doing to himself and his family. “My father wasn’t this wonderful person 100 per cent of the time,” says his daughter, Seraphina. “He was a man with his own demons, like every musician. Obviously, he got sober and he was sober a very long time, and there was no fuss and fanfare, no story about that. He got clean and there was no rehab. He just did it.”

The downside, by Charlie’s own admission, is that he also cut out eating, living for six months, as he said, on “water, sultanas and nuts”.

Of all the people to compliment his recovery, Charlie received rich posthumous praise from Keith. Years before, talking about the collective misbehaviour of the Exile era, he admitted readily that “drugs were the tool and I was the laboratory”. But he also pointed out that in that early Seventies period, Charlie “did a good dent in the cognac industry”. Fifty years on from that record, Keith reflects, “Charlie could drink and hold it. What he hated about it was that it blew him up. He started to get chubby on it and that is unforgivable for him. A few years later, he was dabbling once or twice, in Paris. But Charlie certainly doesn’t need anything to change the vibes around him. He would make the world’s worst junkie.” On his friend getting clean, he adds with admiration, “I think he realised, ‘I’ve been through this period,’ and said, ‘Done it. Finished. Never again.’ Well done! It took me ten years.”



Edited 16 time(s). Last edit at 2022-09-02 17:42 by slane82.

"Charlie’s Good Tonight" extract Part 2
Posted by: slane82 ()
Date: September 2, 2022 17:46

‘For Christmas Charlie gave me a Bronze Age sword’

Charlie’s appetite for collecting was voracious. First-edition books, silverware, flatware, records, photographs… His war memorabilia included bullets that were reputedly fired at the Battle of Little Bighorn in the Great Sioux War of 1876.

“He was worse than me in some ways,” says Bill. “I collected all the [Stones] memorabilia and small bits and pieces. He collected American war stuff. He used to have 14 bloody guns and all kinds of things, all the hats and uniforms. You’d go in his house and they were all displayed, like a museum.”

For Charlie’s daughter, Seraphina, every artefact is a page from her life, just as likely to bring sadness as laughter. She recognises and remembers the stages where her father would have a particular attack of obsessive compulsiveness. “He’s had phases where I can see he’s gone completely OCD-collecting mad throughout his life.”

During the Stones’ 1976 European tour, Lord Lichfield invited Charlie and Mick to stay at his home at Shugborough Hall in Staffordshire. He gave the pair a private viewing of the house and when Charlie saw the collection of Paul de Lamerie silverware, he politely pointed out that the date on its caption was incorrect. It was disputed, but checked. He was, of course, proved right.

The cars that he never learnt to drive, or needed to, were another obsession. “Charlie had some old American cars, because he loved those, and also Thirties ones,” recalls Jools Holland. “He got the material from one of Edward VIII’s suits and had the car trimmed in the same material, because he had some spare and he thought it was so lovely.”

Charlie was entirely relaxed about spending large sums of money on his own diversions, in part because he also spent vast amounts doing the same for his friends.

“We always bought each other presents, birthdays and Christmas, and we still do,” Bill tells me. “I still get a case of wine from Mick, and Keith sends caviar to us. We send things to each other and we always have done.” When Bill turned 75 in 2011, the band sent him 75 roses.

But Charlie’s munificence with his old friend was another thing again. “I got into archaeology in the Nineties, in my house,” says Bill, “because workmen found something in the grounds and I thought, ‘There’s got to be other stuff here.’ They found a ceramic drinking pot from the 15th century. So I bought a detector and I found a Roman site up the road that no one knew about. I found hundreds of Roman coins and brooches, all kinds of stuff.

“When Charlie found out, he started buying these archaeological items, which were ridiculously expensive. Of course, he was earning tons of money then. I’d left before the big money, just with a small amount to get along with, and happily. The last tour I ever did, tickets were like £29.95 or something. They went into this huge money-earning situation and so he did have the facilities.

“He’d come round just before Christmas, I’d give him his Christmas present and he gave me this long thing. It was quite heavy, and he’d say, ‘Look after it, because it’s a bit special.’ So I’d say, ‘OK, Charlie,’ and I’d put it away. Then we’d go to the country and I’d put it under the tree and then at Christmas [Bill’s wife] Suzanne would say, ‘You’d better have a look at what Charlie got you.’ And I opened this thing, and it was a complete Bronze Age sword from 1000 BC.”

In June 2004, Charlie had had the shock of his life – aged 63, he was diagnosed with cancer. He’d had a lump in his neck for two or three years, which was diagnosed as benign, but when it was removed, it was found to be cancerous. Then cancer was also discovered in his left tonsil. “When I first found out about it, I went to bed and cried,” he admitted to me. “I thought that was it, that I’d only have another three months. You go in there and you’re terrified. All the machines... The surgeons and nurses literally have your life in their hands.” Said Keith, “As Charlie put it, ‘One minute I’m standing at Ronnie Scott’s getting a standing ovation and the next minute I’m on a marble slab.’ ”

Doctors told Charlie that a six-week course of radiotherapy would give him a 90 per cent chance of a full recovery. He was able to walk to the Marsden for his appointments, miraculously spared the media glare, although a press release in August confirmed that he was four weeks into his medical care. In early October, Mick said in a press statement the treatment had been successful. Charlie and [his wife] Shirley celebrated a rarely seen phenomenon in rock: a 40th wedding anniversary.

Charlie later talked about his initial absence from the writing and demo sessions for the album that became 2005’s A Bigger Bang. Ironically, a frightening situation necessitated the closest songwriting relationship that Mick and Keith had had for years. That summer they enjoyed the unusual experience in the band’s latter-day history of composing songs in the same room, at the Château de Fourchette, Mick’s residence on the banks of the Loire in Pocé-sur-Cisse. “The basic stuff was done very much around the room, on a couple of couches,” said Keith. “For the first time in many years, we were just together, just Mick and me and, ‘Hey, we’ve got to come up with something.’ ”

Mick said, “When Charlie got sick, it set us back a bit, but what it meant was we [both] got to play guitar and drums and bass for a bit, just the two of us together. So when Charlie did turn up, I had a lot of the beats ready already. We changed ’em, but we had a solid basis and we used elements of the demos I’d done.” When Charlie joined the sessions, Keith said he looked the same, as if he had simply combed his hair and put on a suit.

A Bigger Bang’s lean, knowing songs befitted a band of sixtysomethings (Ronnie was only 58), but it still rocked with unique élan and anyone who expected Charlie to be diminished by his ordeal needed only to hear him fill the room with the exhilarating backbeat of Rough Justice to be proved wrong. I asked if his undiminished playing was a subconscious message to his bandmates that they shouldn’t write him off. “I didn’t want to show them; I wanted to show myself,” he answered. “That’s about the extent of my ego, really.”

‘The last couple of tours, he’d be pretty beaten up after every show’

Charlie turned 77 on the road as the Stones played the Ricoh Arena in Coventry in June 2018. Always a picky eater, his diet was of concern to family and bandmates. “I would always be on at him about eating,” says Mick. “Especially in the latter days, when you could eat perfectly well and I would force him to eat with me at night. You get bored sitting in your room and there’s no one going to encourage you to eat, so you eat less and less.

“Me and Charlie are probably putting out the most energy [in the show] and he was probably putting out more than I am. You don’t get to stop and you can’t f*** up. If I don’t want to run to the other side of the stage, no one’s going to tell me I have to. If Charlie stops playing, then you’re f***ed. You have to have a good diet and you have to be looked after and, for whatever reason, he wouldn’t eat properly and manage his diet.”

“The last couple of tours, he was feeling it,” says Keith. “It wasn’t just a case of, ‘I don’t feel like it any more.’ He was having to really work those shows and he’d be pretty beaten up after every one.”

The first official notification that Charlie was even one degree under came with the August 2021 announcement that he would not make the beginning of the Stones’ delayed No Filter tour of North America. He had undergone a successful operation, but needed more rest than the rehearsal schedule would allow. “For once, my timing is a little off,” he said in the press statement.

“He was reticent about going on this last tour because he wasn’t feeling very well,” says Mick. “He said, ‘But you’re the cheerleader of the group and if you say I should do it, I’ll do it. Of course I will. I’m happy to.’ ”

Steve Jordan, Keith’s longtime bandmate in the X-Pensive Winos, was the one, the only deputy. The official line that the band were anticipating Charlie’s full recovery, and for him to join the tour later, was genuine. “We were hoping for it and so was Steve,” says Keith. “He said, ‘I’ll keep the chair warm for you, Charlie,’ not expecting that it would be permanent. But Charlie always said to me, ‘If any reason should ever occur that I’m not behind the drums, Steve Jordan is your man.’ He sort of named him as crown prince.”

“I saw Charlie in the hospital,” says Ronnie, “and he was telling me that Steve would definitely be the one to hold it until he could get out on tour. We watched the horse racing and of course he loved Frankie Dettori. The last few days of his hospitalisation, he was like, ‘I don’t like this,’ because he went to a certain level of treatment, then they decided to do some extra work on him.”

Unexpected complications after surgery led to a rapid decline. Mick reveals, “I was speaking to him in hospital and, because he was so untechnical, I sent him a big iPad to watch the cricket on. I set it all up with the apps and he watched some of it on that. But Ronnie had had a similar illness and got better and that’s why I guess I was so confident Charlie was going to do the same thing. It was all so quick. That was the shocking part of it. One minute I was speaking to him about the tour and what the logo was going to be and the next minute he was gone.

“Then it was having to just carry on. Well, we didn’t have to, but it just felt like we should and Charlie said we should. He said, ‘You should do the tour anyway.’ Because it had been delayed [by the pandemic], remember. ‘You can’t cancel it again.’ ”

“We were already well into rehearsals when we got the news,” says Ronnie. “We had a day off and thought, well, Charlie doesn’t want us to sit around and mope. We’ll just get on with it. That was it.”

Extracted from Charlie’s Good Tonight: the Authorised Biography of Charlie Watts by Paul Sexton, published on September 15 (Mudlark; £25)

Next week in The Times: the inside story of the Rolling Stones’ greatest album



Edited 8 time(s). Last edit at 2022-09-02 17:53 by slane82.

Re: "Charlie’s Good Tonight" extract Part 2
Posted by: BlueTurns2Grey ()
Date: September 2, 2022 17:56

Thank you, very nice to read.

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: SomeTorontoGirl ()
Date: September 2, 2022 19:32

Thanks so much for posting. Charlie is one of the very few people I can think of who, after their passing, not a single bad word is said of them. He’ll always be missed. Can’t wait for the book.


Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: Scooby ()
Date: September 2, 2022 20:57

What a wonderfully unique individual. I’m really looking forward to reading the biography and discovering more about him.

Re: "Official" Charlie Watts biography due out 11 October
Posted by: ProfessorWolf ()
Date: September 2, 2022 22:12

wow thanks

just from that excerpt you get the sense that they are all still pretty close behind the scenes

interesting to hear mick's version of the "charlie slugging mick" story seems more likey then keith's or bill's to me

and the bit where mick sent him a ipad that he set up himself so he could watch cricket made me smile

and his comment about "ronnie having a similar disease" seems to answer some long standing questions

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