Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts is celebrating another big hit - he turns 70 on Thursday (02Jun11).
The rocker has enjoyed a stellar career in music, providing the backbone of the Stones' rhythm section for 48 years, as well as indulging his love of jazz by forming his own quintet as a side project.
Known for his calm, reserved demeanour onstage, Watts has also enjoyed a largely scandal-free private life, remaining loyal to his wife of 47 years, Shirley.
To celebrate his milestone birthday, WENN presents 10 fascinating facts about the man who provides the heartbeat of the world's longest-surviving rock band...
- Watts' roots and upbringing in north London have earned him the nickname The Wembley Whammer - and Sir Mick Jagger often uses the moniker to introduce the drummer at Rolling Stones shows.
- He's a lover of high-end fashion and designer clothes. He was once named one of the World's Best Dressed stars by a British newspaper, and in 2006 editors at Vanity Fair inducted him into their International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame.
- Watts was originally a member of seminal British R&B band Blues Incorporated. Jagger, Keith Richards, and Brian Jones occasionally jammed with the group onstage, and they later convinced Watts to join them in the Stones.
- A lifelong lover of horses, he lives in a rural village in Devon, south west England, where he runs an Arabian horse stud farm with his wife.
- Before finding fame, Watts worked as a graphic designer for London advertising firm Charles, Hobson & Grey. He stuck with his day job even after joining the Stones, and only quit in 1963 when the band secured a residency at the Crawdaddy Club on the outskirts of London.
- In 2004, Watts was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent a course of radiotherapy.
- A talented artist, Watts designed and contributed to the sleeves of early Stones albums, including 1967's Between the Buttons. He also has a habit of sketching the surroundings and furniture in every hotel room he occupies. He once confessed he has no idea why he feels compelled to do this when he tours with the Stones.
- Known for his passive demeanour, Watts famously flew into a rage on tour in the 1980s when Jagger referred to him as "my drummer". Watts reportedly punched the singer in the face and told him: "Don't ever call me your drummer again. You're my f**king singer!"
- Watts and Shirley have a daughter called Seraphina. He's grandfather to her daughter.
- Watts was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - along with his Rolling Stones bandmates - in 1989.
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