Following the death of drummer Charlie Watts, the Rolling Stones may have found a replacement: Steve Jordan.
Jordan, 64, was already filling in — at Watts’ request — following recent surgery the legendary drummer received that required him to take time off to recuperate. Two weeks ago, Mick Jagger said Jordan would sub in as Watts recovered, adding that he “looked forward” to Watts’ return — but that never came.
Watts, 80, passed away Tuesday in the UK, bringing an outpouring of remembrances from celebrities and fans alike.
Jordan was only supposed to fill in for the duration of the band’s 13-stop “No Filter” tour this fall, which kicks off Sept. 26 in St. Louis, and it would have marked the first time since 1963 that Watts was not behind the drums on tour.
There is no official word on whether Jordan will become Watts’ permanent replacement — or whether the tour will be postponed — but the under-the-radar artist seems to have the right credentials for the job.
Jordan is a singer, songwriter and producer who has worked with Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, B.B. King, Stevie Nicks and John Mayer, among other notable musicians.
He started working with the Stones in 1986 when they were recording “Dirty Work.” At the time, he hung out in the studio and even played on the album — one of the first times he filled in for Watts.
In 1986, he was also on leave from the house band on “Late Night with David Letterman” but was good enough to be remembered by the Stones for his “Saturday Night Live” performances in that show’s house band in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
He continued to collaborate with the Stones in 1987 when he again took over for Watts, who was not available to participate in a Chuck Berry concert documentary titled “Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll.”
The rest was history — Keith Richards, who was so enthralled by Jordan’s talent, continued to recruit him for more projects.
On Richards’ solo records — “Main Offender” in 1992 and “Crosseyed Heart” in 2015 — he brought on Jordan to collaborate. In multiple interviews prior, Richards gushed about his relationship with Jordan and spoke highly of his musical skill.
In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 1988, Richards addressed Jordan’s influence on him. “I managed to do some of the things that with the Stones I’d say, ‘Nah, can’t do that. Too complicated,’ ” he said of their successful collaborations.
Because of his already established relationship with the Stones — and specifically Richards — it feels almost natural that Jordan fused with the band in Watts’ absence.
“It is an absolute honor and a privilege to be Charlie’s understudy,” Grammy and Emmy winner Jordan said when it was announced he would temporarily fill in.
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