It’s still difficult to realize Charlie is gone

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Charlie Watts, right, was the drummer for The Rolling Stones. GoodFon.com

The recent passing of longtime Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts remains on my mind. 

Charlie and I had more or less grown old together. He had been a Rolling Stone since 1963, about the same time I first became interested in what songs were coming out of the family AM radio. The Stones seemingly have always been there, especially Mick, Keith, Ronnie and the quiet, likable Charlie. There seems to be such a void since his death, the ultimate end of an era.

The past week or so, I have been listening and re-listening to quite a bit of Stones music. As a result, I have re-positioned some of my favorite Stones songs into this new top 10. Here’s to you, Charlie. You’ll be missed.

1. “Mixed Emotions” (1989): This song provides all the Stones have given us in other, different increments. There is a pulsating rhythm, accented by the tight, crisp sounds from Charlie. There also is the carefree nature of Keith and the bombastic style of Mick. It’s the perfect Stones song.
2. “She’s a Rainbow.” (1967): Often overlooked, Charlie’s drums are a key. Reportedly, the song was written about one of the band’s groupies.
3. “Brown Sugar” (1971): One of the most enduring rock anthems ever.
4. “Honky Tonk Women” (1969): Arguably, the band’s best sing-a-long effort.
5. “Tumbling Dice” (1972): One of the Stones’ most critically acclaimed numbers.
6. “Start Me Up” (1981): Speaking of enduring rock anthems …
7. “Shattered” (1978): Mick said he wrote the lyrics to this hit in the back of a New York City cab.
8. “Ruby Tuesday” (1967): “She could never say … where she came from.” One of the great opening lines of any song, ever.
9. “It’s All Over Now” (1964): This could have/should have been a country hit, too. It was co-written by soul singer Bobby Womack.
10. “As Tears Go By” (1965): Sometimes, I enjoy a slower, acoustic-like version of the Stones.
Honorable mention: “Miss You” (1978), “Emotional Rescue” (1980), “Gimme Shelter” (1969).
No, I didn’t forget: “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (1965). After all of these years, I’m simply sick of that song. Sorry, Charlie.

Overrated, underrated

Overrated: 7-Up. It tasted watered down, even before the ice in the cup had melted. Once the ice actually does melt, it’s even worse.
Underrated: Squirt. More people should give this “clear” soda more of a chance. It reminds me of quite a bit of Sprite except with more bite and longer-lasting favor.

Overrated: Any Nebraska football team coached by Scott Frost. Former Cornhuskers coaching legend Bob Devaney must be turning over in his grave. Nebraska is simply pitiful. I seriously doubt it could win the Mid-American Conference. Nebraska’s next real game (sorry, those Fordham and Buffalo contests do not count) is Sept. 18 vs. Oklahoma. The Sooners might hang a 100 on this woeful bunch.
Underrated: Bret Bielema’s Illinois program is definitely on the upswing. Mighty Ohio State need not worry for a few more years, but if I were the rest of the Big Ten, I would keep my eye on the Illini. Bielema will be building Illinois in the same way he molded some of those Wisconsin teams from 2006 through 2012. He’s a Big Ten coach to the core, which means big, physical teams. It’s been a long time since Illinois had a team it could legitimately be proud of. That time, Illini fans, is on its way.

Happy birthday

  • Linda Gray: The actress turns 81 on Sept. 12. She is best remembered as Sue Ellen Ewing on “Dallas.”
  • Ruben Studdard: The former “American Idol” star will be 43, also on Sept. 12.
  • Sophia Loren: The legendary actress and media personality will turn 86 on Sept. 20. 

In the gone, but not forgotten category of September birth dates:

  • Barry White: The acclaimed soul singer would have been 77 on Sept. 12. White died in 2003 at age 58, following a long series of health issues, due largely to poor diet and choices. He smoked 150 cigarettes a day.
  • Arnold Palmer: He’s been gone for five years, but Arnie’s Army of followers remains intact. Palmer was 87 when he died. He was born on Sept. 10, 1929 in Latrobe, Pa.
  • Roger Maris: If alive today, the former New York Yankees home run champion would be 87. Maris was only 51 when he died in December 1985. He was born on Sept. 10, 1934 in Hibbing, Minn.

Steve once had a chance to join the Rolling Stones but didn’t want to travel, so he chose journalism instead.

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