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On a Roll

Watts Happening

Ever since Brian had formed the band, he had been in hot pursuit of Charlie Watts. Charlie was a jazz drummer with Alex Korner's band. He was not into the blues or rock and roll like the rest of the Stones. He had started playing the drums at around age fourteen. His parents had bought him a banjo, which he turned into a drum by removing the neck of the instrument.

Like Bill Wyman, Charlie had a steady day job. He was a typesetter's assistant at a graphic design firm, and he had been able to make a decent living thus far. He was also able to travel to places like Denmark as part of the job, so he was not in any hurry to stop working. Up to this point, playing the drums was mostly a hobby for him—but that would soon change.

Did You Know?

Some early members of the Rolling Stones went on to make their own contributions to rock history. Dick Taylor went on to help start psychedelic garage pioneers the Pretty Things, while Mick Avory, who drummed for the Stones very briefly before Tony Chapman, went on to play in the legendary Kinks!

The problem the Stones had was that they simply did not have the money to lure Watts away from the security of the nine-to-five life. Once they started playing on a more regular basis, they were finally able to offer Charlie twenty pounds (the equivalent to about $28.50) a week. It wasn't a lot, but it was enough for Charlie, and they soon found themselves with a highly skilled drummer.

Charlie's first gig with the Stones, on January 17, 1963, marked the first time Bill, Brian, Charlie, Keith, and Mick played together. The band's lineup, which took such a long time to take proper shape, would stay this way for many years.

Additional topics

Musician BiographiesThe Rolling StonesOn a Roll - A New Rolling Stone, Watts Happening, Stone Steady, Enter Andrew, Contracting A Contract