English drummer, Charles Robert “Charlie” Watts was born on June 2, 1941 (he turns 72 today!). He attended Tylers Croft Secondary Modern School from 1952 to 1956; as a schoolboy, he displayed a talent for art, cricket and football. Watts’s neighbor Dave Green went on to become a jazz bass player. Green was Watts’s childhood friend, and they remain friends today. When Watts and Green were both about thirteen, Watts became interested in drumming. Green and Watts began their musical careers together from 1958-1959 playing in a jazz band in Middlesex called the Jo Jones All Stars. Watts initially found his transition to rhythm and blues puzzling; commenting, “I went into rhythm and blues. When they asked me to play, I didn’t know what it was. I thought it meant Charlie Parker, played slow.” Watts’ parents gave him his first drum kit in 1955; he was interested in jazz, and would practice drumming along with jazz records he collected. After completing secondary school, he enrolled at Harrow Art School (now the University of Westminster), which he attended until 1960. After leaving school, Watts worked as a graphic designer for an advertising company called Charlie Daniels Studios, and also played drums occasionally with local bands in coffee shops and clubs. In 1961 he met Alexis Korner, who invited him to join his band, Blues Incorporated. At that time Watts was on his way to a sojourn working as a graphic designer in Denmark, but he accepted Korner’s offer when he returned to London in February 1962. Watts played regularly with Blues Incorporated and maintained a job with another advertising firm of Charles, Hobson and Grey. It was in mid-1962 that Watts first met Brian Jones, Ian “Stu” Stewart, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards, who also frequented the London rhythm and blues clubs, but it wasn’t until January 1963 that Watts finally agreed to join the Rolling Stones.
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