When Charlie Watts punched Mick Jagger in the face

25 August 2021, 15:05 | Updated: 25 August 2021, 16:41

The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and the late Charlie Watts
A story about an altercation The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and the late Charlie Watts has resurfaced. Picture: 1. Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive/Getty Images 2. Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

By Jenny Mensah

The story of the late Rolling Stones drummer's spat with Mick Jagger has been going viral since the news of of his passing this week.

Tributes are continuing to roll in for The Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts.

This week it was announced that the music legend passed away peacefully, aged 80, in a London hospital on Tuesday 24 August surrounded by his family.

Watts - who has been in the Stones since 1963 - has often been referred to as "the rock" and the calming influence of the band, but one story has been doing the rounds which sees the drummer showing he was no walkover.

In fact, one iconic tale from the band sees Watts punch Stones frontman Mick Jagger in the face while they were in Amsterdam on tour in 1984.

The story is detailed by lead guitarist Keith Richards in his best-selling autobiography, Life, as well as Rolling Stones fanzine editor Bill German in his Under Their Thumb tome.

Though their accounts slightly differ, their endings were definitely the same.

READ MORE: Tributes pour in for The Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts

The Rolling Stones' Charlie Watts, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger
The Rolling Stones' Charlie Watts, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger in 1985. Picture: Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

With tensions running at an all time high in the band due to Jagger’s out-of-control ego, and suspicion rife that he was brokering a solo deal for himself, it's fair to say the band were in crisis.

German wrote that the Paint it Black singer told Watts during band crisis talks: "‘None of this should matter to you because you’re only my drummer'".

However, Keef recalls that a drunk Jagger had riled up Watts the by calling his hotel room and repeatedly shouting: "Where’s my drummer?"

Whatever context Mick said it in, it apparently didn't go down too well with Watts, who marched down to the singer's hotel room to teach him a lesson he wouldn't forget.

About 20 minutes later, Richards said, there was a knock at the door.

"There was Charlie Watts, Savile Row suit, perfectly dressed, tie, shaved, the whole f***ing bit," he wrote.

"I opened the door and he didn’t even look at me, he walked straight past me, got hold of Mick and said: ‘Never call me your drummer again.'

"Then he hauled him up by the lapels of my jacket and gave him a right hook."

He added: "Mick fell back onto a silver platter of smoked salmon and began to slide towards the open window and the canal below…It takes a lot to wind that man up."

READ MORE: 10 brilliant Charlie Watts moments that proved he was the rock of the Rolling Stones

Watts' Rolling Stones bandmates have since paid tribute to the rocker on social media.

Mick Jagger shared a photo of the legend.

Keith Richards shared an image of Watts' drum kit with a CLOSED sign hanging off it.

Youngest band member Ronnie Wood, who joined the Stones in 1976, shared a photo of himself with the rocker, writing: "I love you my fellow Gemini~ I will dearly miss you ~you are the best".

READ MORE: Why Charlie Watts never had a drum kit at home


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