If Ringo Starr and The Beatles were the band that defined the 1960s, The Rolling Stones weren’t far behind. According to Paul McCartney, the rivalry between the two gangs was more rumor than reality, and it seems true. If the Stones and the Beatles didn’t hit it off, would Ringo and his drummer counterpart Charlie Watts have gotten together? And would Ringo have felt comfortable describing Watts’ drumming with a hilariously accurate 11-word quote? We think not.
Ringo Starr and Charlie Watts were friends with each other
Ringo Starr and The Beatles wrote sweet pop tunes when they started out. The Rolling Stones began life as a blues cover band, and that style never left their DNA. Any rivalry between the superstar groups was the creation of the fans. The members of each band respected and were friends with each other. Stones frontman Mick Jagger was in awe of the Fab Four the first time he met them.
Watts and Ringo developed such a close friendship that The Beatles’ timekeeper invited his Stones counterpart to a party on at least one occasion. The lucky attendees saw Watts, Ringo and John Bonham of Led Zeppelin sit down and play Ringo’s kit.
The born Richard Starkey paid tribute to Watts when the Stones drummer died. “God bless Charlie Watts; We are going to miss you man peace and love to the family, ”he wrote in Twitter at the time. Years before that sad moment, Ringo hilariously described Watts’ style in a few very precise words.
Ringo described Watts’ drumming style in just 11 words
Ringo and Watts had something in common besides playing drums for two of the most popular bands in history. In an era when some drummers became star attractions (Bonham, Keith Moon, Mitch Mitchell and Ginger Baker come to mind), Ringo and Watts played low-key rhythms that anchored the musicians in front of them.
Both men were also named two of the greatest drummers of all time by Rolling Stone. As Alan Clayson writes in Ringo Starr: straight man or joker?Ringo needed just 11 words to hilariously and accurately describe Watts’ style on the kit:
“[He’s] the only drummer who leaves out more than me.”
Ringo’s comment about Watts is also a self-deprecating analysis of his own drumming. At the same time, he secretly praised his timing skills.
Ringo never got the credit he deserved while with The Beatles. Meanwhile, Watts’ tight timing was often overshadowed by Jagger’s confident presence, Keith Richards’ inventive guitar riffs, and the general debauchery for which the Stones had a reputation. However, both drummers kept precise time and played only what their respective bands needed and nothing else.
Watts may have “skipped more” than Ringo, but both players succeeded in keeping time with understated percussion that suited each band perfectly.
The Beatles drummer hung out with other drummers
Watts and Bonham sat on Ringo’s equipment at a party, so we know the Beatles drummer was friends with them. Even when Ringo moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1970s, he was never safe from Bonham’s pranks.
The Who’s drummer Keith Moon once sought his place in The Beatles, but Ringo still developed an intimate relationship with him. The two were so close that Moon frequently babysat Ringo’s children.
Ringo Starr said that Charlie Watts was the only drummer who played more minimally than he did. Ringo hilariously and accurately described their respective drumming styles in just 11 words.
For more on the world of entertainment and exclusive interviews, subscribe to Showbiz Cheat Sheet YouTube Channel.