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January 11th, 1962: Charlie Joins The Band

Charlie Joins The Band

The events we write about at Gaslight Records happened in some form or another 50 years ago to the day. Roll along with us and imagine you are back in 1970.

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On January 12 1963, Charlie Watts played his first show with the Rolling Stones at the Ealing Blues Club in London. According to Keith Richards, this was the moment the Stones really came into being.

This is arguably true of every great group: they discover a unique combination of all instrumental elements, and that makes up the special nature of the band's sound–Beatles, Doors, Floyd, Radiohead, Zeppelin, the list could go on forever. Those bands do not function to their fullest potential without the elements that each individual player brings to the overall sound. Never has that been more true than with the Rolling Stones, and Keith knew that he'd found the final necessary element to the rhythm section in poaching Charlie Watts from the Blues Incorporated.

Bill Wyman perhaps put it best in a recent interview for the documentary Crossfire Hurricane when he said (paraphrasing), that the Stones are truly unique in the way that the band don't follow the drummer. Instead, Charlie follows Keith's guitar playing, and Bill follows Charlie's drumming. The effect being a loose and on-edge sense of timing that has become a characteristic component of the Rolling Stones' sound.

So then, Charlie arrived and that last piece of the puzzle fell into place, subsequently leading to the release of some of the greatest records in music history. One thing's for certain, the Stones would not exist as we have come to know them without the arrival of Charlie Watts more than 50 years ago.

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