Charlie swings but hasn’t got right sound yet

The Rolling Stones in 1963. From left: Keith, Brian, Mick, Charlie and Bill.
Photo: Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo.

Keith Richards has kept a diary just once during his 79 years, from January 1963 until March of the same year, a brief but crucial three month period during which the Rollin’ Stones were still hatching: Bill Wyman had arrived in December of 1962, and it was on 12th January that Charlie Watts drummed on stage with the band for the first time, at Ealing Jazz Club. This entry was written days later, and contains the earliest mention of Charlie’s playing. Within months, the band had dropped the apostrophe and signed with Decca Records. Their debut album appeared the next year.

The Diary Entry

Tuesday 15 

All group money to be given up for at least 2 weeks to buy amp & mikes. 


Maybe due to my cold but didn’t sound right to me, but then Mick & Brian & myself still groggy from chills and fever!!! 

Charlie swings but hasn’t got right sound yet. Rectify that tomorrow! 

Poor crowd. No money, chucking it. Have a day off. Rick [bass] & Carlo [drums] to play sat & mon.

Further Reading

There are a couple of ways to read Keith’s diary entries. The first is by picking up a copy of his (excellent) autobiography, Life: in chapter 4 he reprints and discusses 21 entries from that three month stretch, of which the above is just one. Alternatively, you can get your hands on The Rolling Stones: Unzipped, a gorgeous coffee table book in which a handful of pages from the diary are pictured.

Diary entry excerpted from Life by Keith Richards, Copyright © 2010. Reprinted by permission of Little, Brown and Company, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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