For all the obits I’ve written over the years, this one eludes me, because it transcends the others by light years. My beat is erratic; my rhythm is off. My palpitating heart is broken. The kindly gentleman with the ferocious spirit, behind the tiny drum kit, in front of millions, was the metronome that put us all in sync. This is no small thing. And he never seemed to know just how beloved he is.
When I met him, he was charming, quiet, interested, connected. He asked us questions, he introduced his handler, he sent back pics, he signed “Thank you, Charlie Watts.” He was grateful and wanted us to know that. Though humble, he was indeed a god figure from the pantheon of legends, and therefore, was immortal. Or so we thought.
This year had already taken enough, hadn’t it? Murder hornets, be damned, 2021 had one more trick up its sleeve. It would kill the greatest band to ever perform live. Because make no mistake, whether they continue or not, the Stones proper died with Charlie. For me, anyway. This is a game-changer. The existential fallout is dystopian and depressing. They were kind of “it.” For large shows that took you out of your skin and sent you to the highest reaches and made you feel targeted and special just for being there. One small man with the shy smile carried us all on his shoulders.
The news came shortly after the news of my dear uncle’s passing. They shared some of the same qualities: a quiet strength of character, understated humor, a caring you could count on. I truly feel like I’ve lost two family members. The warm uncles you took for granted would always be there, the backbone of the family you were born into and the family you chose.
You will be forever missed and loved. And that is the world’s greatest understatement.