Charlie Watts (1941 – 2021)

The Rolling Stones started making music a few years before I was born, and they remain active now. And I’m in my 50s.

I was not part of the 1960s generation (I’m a Gen Xer); and I never loved the Rolling Stones as much as Rush, Def Leppard, or even Aerosmith. But I’ve been hearing their music since as long as I can remember, and much of it is quite good.

Rolling Stones songs and movie soundtracks seem to go together. There must be a rule somewhere, stating that every movie about Vietnam must use either “Satisfaction” or “Paint it Black” somewhere in the soundtrack. But it isn’t just Vietnam movies. Fallen, a 1995 horror film starring Denzel Washington, uses both “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Time is On My Side” in its soundtrack.

Almost everyone knows at least a few Rolling Stone songs, and most of us have a favorite one. (My person favorite is “Mixed Emotions”, released in 1989.)

The band’s drummer, Charlie Watts, passed away today in London. Watts always stuck out in the band. He was the one member of the group who didn’t look like a rock star, with his quiet, unassuming manner and formal dress (by rock band standards, anyway).

He seems to have been a nice fellow, and he played a good beat for many years. Charlie Watts, 80, RIP.

R.I.P. Dusty Hill

I am part of the MTV generation. I turned 14 in 1982, the year MTV took off.

ZZ Top’s breakout album, Eliminator, came out in 1983. The music on the album was certainly quite good, and has stood the test of time. I think it’s fair to say, though, that MTV was pivotal in ZZ Top’s breakout success. MTV, alas, was a highly visual medium.

And ZZ Top was a very visual band. The group also mastered the MTV format.

ZZ Top was known for its two frontmen, Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons. With long flowing beards and fedoras, Hill and Gibbons were anachronisms even in the early 1980s. 

Dusty Hill passed away earlier this week, from undisclosed causes at the age of 72.

Requiescat in pace, Mr. Hill. You made some fine music, which brings back fond memories for millions of Gen Xers like me.

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And now, in honor of Dusty Hill, my favorite ZZ Top video, for the song “Legs”.

Both the song and the video are everything the 1980s was, and the present decade is not: sensual, unashamed, and (most of all): fun