Charlie Watts, who died this week at 80, wouldn’t have minded if the Rolling Stones hadn’t lasted. “I used to hate girls chasing us down the road,” the group’s drummer told Sue Lawley on Desert Island Discs in 2001. But their success enabled him to indulge in his love of tailoring: “I have this disease – I see a swatch and have to have a jacket [made].” He took a specially made travelling wardrobe on tour, “with a retinue to carry it round”, and hated people touching his belongings.
A “midlife crisis” led to heroin and alcohol problems in the 1980s. “I got to a point where I realised I was going to lose everything – I just stopped.” Keith Richards, who never offered Watts any drugs, found him collapsed once and gave him some advice: “You should wait until you’re 60 before you start… then you can do it slowly.” Watts’s wife, Shirley, whom he married in 1964, stuck with him. (They had one daughter, who provided their only grandchild.) While he enjoyed collecting vintage cars (he never drove them) and clothes (including suits owned by the Duke of Windsor), she looked after Arabian stallions on their north Devon stud farm, as well as their many dogs – 24 at one point.