Members of the Rolling Stones skipped memorial services for drummer Charlie Watts when he was laid to rest at a secret funeral in Britain last week, instead staying in Boston to rehearse for their new U.S. tour, which kicks off later this month.
The funeral went on without the attendance of singer Mick Jagger, 78, and guitarists Keith Richards, 77, and Ronnie Wood, 74, according to The Sun.
“The famed rhythm man’s family organized a secret funeral in Devon befitting the fuss-free character of the rocker, who died aged 80 on Aug. 24, just weeks after pulling out of the Stones’ US tour,” the Sun said. “Because of Covid restrictions, they were forced to stay in Boston where they have been rehearsing for the Stones’ rescheduled US tour.”
“An insider said the Stones would pay tribute to their fallen bandmate at the upcoming shows and were also planning a celebration of his life later this year in the UK,” the paper said.
The surviving members of the band are also planning a dedicated celebration of Watts’ life later this year in Britain.
Watts announced Aug. 5 that he would sit out the band’s rescheduled US tour after having surgery for an unspecified malady, which he said was “completely successful.”
“For once my timing has been a little off,” quipped the legendary drummer, one of the Stones’ founding members.
“I am working hard to get fully fit but I have today accepted on the advice of the experts that this will take a while,” said Watts, who was also successfully treated for throat cancer in 2004.
“After all the fans’ suffering caused by COVID I really do not want the many RS fans who have been holding tickets for this Tour to be disappointed by another postponement or cancellation,” Watts said.
“I have therefore asked my great friend Steve Jordan to stand in for me,” he said of the respected session and TV talk show drummer who was also in Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards’ side project, the X-Pensive Winos.
But on Aug. 28, Watts passed away.
A spokesperson for the band said in a statement: “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. We kindly request that the privacy of his family, band members and close friends is respected at this difficult time.”
After more than five decades with “the World’s Greatest Rock ’n Roll Band,” Watts was considered one of the greatest drummers of all time. Richards once said, “Everybody thinks Mick and Keith are the Rolling Stones. If Charlie wasn’t doing what he’s doing on drums, that wouldn’t be true at all. You’d find out Charlie Watts is the Stones.”
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