For the first time since joining the band in January 1963, drummer Charlie Watts is sitting out a Rolling Stones tour. Rolling Stone reported Watts, who’s now 80 and has never missed a gig, has backed out of the band’s upcoming dates “after undergoing an unspecified medical procedure.” He’ll be replaced on the road by Keith Richards‘ primary solo collaborator since 1988, drummer Steve Jordan.

Watts is off the tour “after undergoing an unspecified medical procedure.” Back in 2004, Watts successfully battled throat cancer — but there’s been no mention of his current illness being linked to that.

Charlie Watts issued a statement saying: “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. 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. I have therefore asked my great friend Steve Jordan to stand in for me.”

He went on to joke: “For once, my timing has been a little off.”

Details are still sketchy regarding what caused Watts to stand down for the dates, but old friend Peter Frampton revealed that Watts recently underwent some type of surgery, tweeting, “Sending all love and strength to Charlie Watts. He’s recovering from emergency surgery but doing fine. He will not be playing on the Stones upcoming tour.”

  • The Rolling Stones tour dates (subject to change):
    September 26 – St. Louis, MO – The Dome at America’s Center
    September 30 – Charlotte, NC – Bank Of America Stadium
    October 4 – Pittsburgh, PA – Heinz Field
    October 9 – Nashville, TN – Nissan Stadium
    October 13 – New Orleans, LA – New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
    October 17 – Los Angeles, CA – SoFi Stadium
    October 24 – Minneapolis, MN – U.S. Bank Stadium
    October 29 – Tampa, FL – Raymond James Stadium
    November 2 – Dallas, TX – Cotton Bowl Stadium
    November 6 – Las Vegas, NV – Allegiant Stadium
    November 11 – Atlanta, GA – Mercedes-Benz Stadium
    November 15 – Detroit, MI – Ford Field
    November 20 – Austin, TX – Circuit of The Americas


  • When not playing with the Rolling StonesCharlie Watts has often worked on jazz-related projects. And in December of 1964, only a few months after the Stones released their debut album, Watts published a book, Ode To A High Flying Bird, a tribute to jazz legend Charlie Parker.
  • Although literally generations of rock drummers have cited Watts as an influence on their playing, Watts, a jazz aficionado, claims not to really be a fan of rock music.
  • Watts has had the only stable family life of any of the Stones, having remained faithful to his girlfriend and then wife of over 50 years, Shirley, throughout the Stones’ career.
  • Charlie Watts, who was able to resist the lure of hard drugs throughout the ’60s and ’70s, developed a brief heroin addiction in the early ’80s but soon after found the resolve to kick his demons.


  • In April 2017, Charlie Watts released his latest big band album, called Charlie Watts Meets The Danish Radio Big Band.
    The set was captured back in 2010 in Copenhagen’s Concert Hall of Denmark, following only four days of rehearsals between Watts and the musicians.
  • The seven-song album features big band takes on such Stones classics as “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “Paint It, Black” — along with a Bossa Nova-tinged take on “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”

CHECK IT OUT: The Stones on March 26th, 1971 performing “Live With Me” live at London’s Marquee Club: