During his concert in Cincinnati last week, Billy Joel paid tribute to the late Rolling Stones drummer, Charlie Watts. Watts passed away last month following complications from an undisclosed medical procedure at the age of 80. Watts’ hospitalisation during the weeks leading up to his death forced him to drop out of The Rolling Stones’ US tour.
During his concert at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park on Friday, Billy Joel performed a cover of the band’s classic song ‘Brown Sugar’. Following the performance, Joel said: “That’s for Charlie,” before going into a rendition of his own song ‘Big Shot’.
Joel’s performance was held a day after the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre. In recognition of the tragic events, Joel also dedicated a version of ‘New York State Of Mind’ to the victims.
Joel is the latest star to pay his respects to The Rolling Stones’ legendary drummer since his death back in August. Liam Gallagher recently dedicated a version of ‘Live Forever’ to Watts during his Leeds Festival performance, whilst Metallica’s Lars Ulrich called him the “driving force” behind The Stones.
“He could kick these songs and make them swing, make them swagger, still make them have that attitude, that pocket,” he said. “Seeing him do that way deep into his [seventies] has been such a life-affirming thing,” Ulrich said.
Elsewhere, members of The Rolling Stones have shared a tribute of their own to Charlie Watts, releasing a video of photographs and footage of the drummer throughout his career with the group. The video ends with Watts describing how he came to join the band. Watts performed with The Rolling Stones from 1963 until his health started to deteriorate in 2020. Today, he is regarded as one of the greatest rock drummers of all time.
See Billy Joel’s tribute, below.