The Man in the Back (and the beat goes on…)


Sweet Tevye sang, “If I were a rich man…” And i myself AM a very very very rich man! Though my net worth, materially, the banks like to tell me, is way below zero, i am FILTHY RICH! Highest in those riches are SUCH GOOD FRIENDS, and one of them is a lifelong bud named Tommy Stanford. Tom is a Creator and Collector of Art and Autographs – & Tattoos.

405608_467931636621471_556628040_n A regular Whitman!

Tommy just SCORED A DANDY, and he knew that i’d be thrilled!!!!! Of all my rock n roll heroes – and boy, i had a bunch! – there’s been none so dear to me as Charlie Watts, the now 76 year old, or should i say 76 year young-and-still-drummin, still Rolling Stone, the classy guy in the back.

My pal sent Charlie a sketch of him in “Ancient Times,” and “the legend” responded with a Thank You to “Tommy Tattoo”IMG_20160421_082319

What is it that made this man so beloved of so many like me? Maybe it is that powerful, but most difficult, piece of wisdom, “The Ultimate Test of Character is the Temptation Resisted.”Charlie lived most of his life in the very heart of that world of temptation. Many many of his colleagues have openly, actively competed for the Grand Prize of Most Women Won, and that on top of most mind-altering-substances-consumed, while Gentleman Watts famously stayed true to One. Such a dirty word in the Biz but Charlie remained “FAITHFUL” to his wife of 52 years, Shirley.

THAT AMAZING FEAT when thousands of “pretty little things” threw themselves at him over a half century of ROLLING…THAT, and perhaps an even bigger reason why we love him so. What the heck is a song without the BEAT? Try to imagine, for example, “Painting It Black” without those sticks of the man in the back!!!??? Charlie Watts was – HECK, still IS at 76, THE BEAT, the Heart of the Beat, the quiet man, the humble man, the ESSENTIAL MAN. i always called him and Ringo and Steve Gadd “the Heartbeats of Rock n Roll.”

OOOOOOOHHHH! It wasn’t easy, such a feat. Charlie’s far from perfect, and sure, there were cracks, even MAJOR BREAKS, in that HEART, but he will always be known as one of the Classiest of Class Acts, for his Faithfulness.


One point that Mother Teresa never got tired of making was that “in the end it does not matter if we are rich or famous, how many houses or cars or boats we had, or how lovely we appeared. All that counts in the end? Were we FAITHFUL???”


Author: friardad

what's it like having a wife and six kids after having been a friar for many years and being still married to St. Francis' Lady Poverty?

3 thoughts on “The Man in the Back (and the beat goes on…)”

    1. Henry, thanks so much. What a wonderful addition to the blog, as it shows the beautiful humility of Charlie and his focus on LEARNING his trade, even now in his mid-70s, always learning. What a Guy! Something about him i always loved, even when i was a kid.


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