Being an ex-drummer myself**, I’ve always had a special reverence for the snappy, driving beat of Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts. For several reasons but mainly because he was always so metronomically spot-on…because every time his drumstick made contact he always hit dead center, and I mean exactly at the right millisecond.

In the wake of the news about Watts’ cancer-related death at age 80, I’ve been asking myself “on which Stones song have I always derived a special pleasure from Watts’ drumming?” After ten minutes of thinking it through I’ve decided that “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)” is tops in this regard, and it’s not that flashy. Update: I’ve been reminded that Kenney Jones was the drummer on that track. He did an excellent job of pretending to be Watts.

From Gavin EdwardsN.Y. Times obit: “While some rock drummers chased after volume and bombast, Mr. Watts defined his playing with subtlety, swing and a solid groove.”

“As the Stones guitarist Keith Richards said in his 2010 autobiography Life, ‘Charlie Watts has always been the bed that I lie on musically.'”

** I was a thoroughly mediocre drummer from the get-go, and I never broke out of that.