It was 60 years ago today (January 9th, 1963) that the late, great Charlie Watts joined the Rolling Stones replacing drummer Tony Chapman. Watts — who was strictly a jazz drummer — held a day job as a graphic designer for the ad company Charles, Hobson and Gray when he took the gig drumming for British blues icon Alexis Korner's group Blues Incorporated. Through Korner, he met Mick Jagger who often sat in with the band.
Watts' first show with the Stones took place just three days later on January 12th, 1963 at London's Ealing Blues Club, featuring Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Bill Wyman — and co-founding keyboardist — and later road manager, Ian Stewart. Watts remained the Rolling Stones' drummer until his death from cancer on August 24th, 2021 at the age of 80.
Charlie Watts said that it never crossed his mind that the Stones would ever make it — let along become rock's longest lasting rock bands: “No, every band I'd ever been in lasted a week. I mean, you only lasted as long as the guy in the club, or whatever, would book you for. So, y'know, if they didn't like you, y'know, it was two gigs and that was it. So I always thought it's gonna last a week, then a fortnight, and suddenly it's 30 years.”
Charlie Watts believed that had it never been for the Stones, he would've remained safe and sound in his jazz-based world: “Keith Richards taught me rock n' roll. We had nothing to do all day, but we'd just play these records over and over again, and I learned to love people like Muddy Waters and people like that, through an intensive three-year crash course, you might say. And Keith turned me on to how good Elvis Presley was. I use to hate him until then. Elvis was, like, the least sort of person I'd ever want. . . I mean, Miles Davis was more what I would — that's what I consider someone. Not Elvis, y'know?”