Charlie Watts Was Missing On A Few Rolling Stones Songs -
The Rolling Stones, Ros O'Gorman photographer, Rod Laver Arena

The Rolling Stones, Ros O'Gorman photographer, Rod Laver Arena

Charlie Watts Was Missing On A Few Rolling Stones Songs

by Paul Cashmere on August 25, 2021

in News

While Charlie Watts has been the long-time drummer of The Rolling Stones since 1963, it may surprise you to know he missed a few recording sessions along the way.

The Rolling Stones announced the passing of Charlie today just weeks after he dropped off the upcoming Stones North American tour.

Charlie was absent from the recording of one of The Stones greatest hits ‘Its Only Rock ‘N Roll (But I Like It)’. Kenney Jones from The Faces is the drummer.

Bass player Bill Wyman was also Missing In Action. Bass on the track is by Willie Weekes and the backing singer on the song is David Bowie.

The song was recorded at Ronnie Wood’s home studio The Wick. They needed a drummer (fast). Charlie wasn’t around and Kenney Jones lived nearby so Wood rang him and the session was done.

Keith Richards didn’t even write it despite the songwriting credit going to Jagger-Richards. Ronnie Wood wrote the song with Jagger. Wood was still in The Faces at the time and was about to start work on his first solo album ‘I’ve Got My Own Album To Do’. Jagger co-wrote ‘I Can Feel The Fire’ for Woods album and allowed Ronnie to take full credit for that one in exchange for the Jagger-Richards brand being attached to ‘Its Only Rock n Roll’.

Charlie is also not on the original recording of ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’. Charlie had trouble with the song so producer Jimmy Miller took over. The song has been an essential play in almost every setlist since it was released.

Miller also plays drums two ‘Exile On Main Street’ tracks ‘Happy’ and ‘Shine A Light’. ‘Happy’ happened fast. The song was recorded at Keith Richards villa Nellcôte in the south of France. According to Stones history “the song didn’t exist at midday and was finished by four o’clock’. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are the only two Stones on the song.

‘Shine A Light’ is another song credit to Jagger-Richards but it was actually written by Mick and Leon Russell. Originally it was called ‘Can’t Seem To) Get A Line On You’ and was intended for Leon’s self-titled album. A version recorded in October 1969 features Leon Russell on organ, Bill Wyman on bass, Ringo Starr on Drums, Keith Richards on guitar and Jagger on vocals. A second try in 1970 replaced Wyman with Paul McCartney. When the Russell version was released as a bonus track Wyman, not McCartney is credited.

The Rolling Stones recorded the third version a year later in December 1971. The song was not performed live until the 1990’s Voodoo Lounge tour.

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