Charlie Watts ignored the Playboy bunnies during 1972 visit to Hugh Hefner’s mansion

Charlie Watts: Paul McCartney pays tribute to Rolling Stones star

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Legendary musician Mr Watts, who was the drummer of the Rolling Stones for almost 60 years died yesterday. His publicist, Barry Doherty told the PA news agency yesterday: “It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts. “He passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today surrounded by his family.

“Charlie was a cherished husband, father and grandfather and also, as a member of the Rolling Stones, one of the greatest drummers of his generation.”

Earlier this month, it was announced that Mr Watts was to miss the Rolling Stones’ upcoming US tour to recover from an unspecified medical procedure. 

Mr Watts joined Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to form the legendary rock band in 1963 and would go on to play with them until their last on-stage performance on August 30 2019 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Florida.

Unlike the romantic histories of his bandmates, the drummer married his art student girlfriend Shirley Ann Shepherd in 1964 and remained with her until his death.

Read More: Paul McCartney heartbroken by Rolling Stones’ Charlie Watts’ death

He is also survived by their daughter Seraphina and granddaughter Charlotte. 

The drummer was faithful to Ms Shephard throughout his time with the Rolling Stones, ignoring countless groupies and even playmates during the band’s early success.

In Robert Greenfield’s STP: A Journey Through America with the Rolling Stones, it details when the group were invited to the Playboy Mansion in 1972.

Mr Watts, however, took advantage of Hugh Hefner’s pinball room for days rather than frolic with any of the playmates.

He said: “I’ve never filled the stereotype of the rockstar.

“Back in the 1970s, Bill Wyman and I decided to grow beards and the effort left us exhausted.”

The temperate rockstar took little interest in groupies or the droves of women that were drawn to the band. 

In a 1993 interview with Matt Lauer on the show Later, Mr Lauer gushed: “You’d be met at the airport by hundreds of screaming women?”

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Mr Watts respectfully corrected him: “Girls.”

The drummer gave few interviews and kept his personal life private to such an extent that the Rolling Stones were even among the last to know their drummer had married his wife in 1964.

Mr Watts moved out of Mr Jagger, Mr Richards and Brian Jones’ Chelsea flat to live in an apartment with his wife Ms Shepherd in 1964.

The Rolling Stones had released “Come On” and “I Wanna Be Your Man” to much acclaim and the drummer was concerned that the marriage would alienate the group’s teenage female fanbase.

Mr Watts decided not to tell his fellow bandmates of his marriage, nor the band’s manager Andrew Loog Oldham.

A host of stars have paid their respects to the iconic drummer, including Sir Paul McCartney, whose band The Beatles enjoyed a friendly rivalry with the Rolling Stones throughout the sixties.

Mr McCartney said: “So sad to hear about Charlie Watts, Stones’ drummer, dying.

“Love you Charlie, I always loved you. Beautiful man and great condolences and sympathies to his family.”

Candle in the wind singer Elton John also paid tribute to Mr Watts.

He said: “Charlie Watts was the ultimate drummer, the most stylish of men and such brilliant company.”

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