By NUI TE KOHA
Stones tour shock -
Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts is to quit the global touring circuit in December.
Stones sources said Watts, 64, agreed to play a 2005-06 world tour on the condition frontman Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards promised it was the last time.
"Charlie did not want to tour the latest album," a Stones insider said.
"Keith begged him to do it. It took a lot of negotiation. Charlie agreed if Keith promised he would not ask him to do another world tour."
Sources stressed Watts was not quitting the Stones, nor would he stop live performances.
But he had made it clear he planned to stop globe-hopping when the latest Stones tour, A Bigger Bang, wrapped in Hawaii in December.
Sources said Watts's health and family forced his decision. The drummer was treated for throat cancer last year. He underwent a minor operation and had six weeks of radiotherapy.
Jagger said the treatment left Watts feeling sapped of energy.
After his health scare, Watts has relished more time with wife Shirley and daughter Seraphina.
Last week, Watts's plan was corroborated by an LA music store owner and friend of Richards. And rock expert Glenn A. Baker said he spoke to Jagger during the 1994 Voodoo Lounge tour about Watts's future.
"One of the things Mick said to me, and he was very serious about this, is the Stones will end when Charlie quits," Baker said yesterday.
"Mick said the Stones would survive the loss of anybody, including Jagger himself, but it couldn't survive the loss of Charlie."