Newspapers in the UK and abroad have featured this story to pay their respects to Charlie Watts, drummer of the Rolling Stones, who died at the age of 80. He had recently cancelled his appearance on a tour with the band.

Tom and Neil talk about the vocabulary from this story so you can talk about it too.

Video chapters:
0:00​​​​​​​​​​ – Introduction
0:25 – Story
1:32 – Headline 1: Drummer Charlie Watts, Rolling Stones backbone, dies at 80
4:48 – Headline 2: Charlie Watts, ‘rock’ of the Rolling Stones, dies at 80
7:27 – Headline 3: Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr Pay Tribute to Charlie Watts: ‘Charlie Was a Rock’
10:07 – Language summary

The story:
His face is on the front pages of all the papers this morning, even the Financial Times finds room, and that’s because Charlie Watts, who died yesterday at the age of 80, was no ordinary drummer, keeping the beat for no ordinary band.

The Rolling Stones will live on, but something essential, something really fundamental to the sound they created, has gone.

Key words and phrases:

main support

  • The workers are the real backbone of our company.
  • Stop complaining about the issue and do something about it! Show some backbone!

strong, reliable person

  • You have been my rock during this difficult time.
  • My husband is my rock in life.

pay tribute
honour someone or something

  • World leaders have paid tribute to the former president.
  • This song is a tribute to the most important man in my life.

To download the audio and a transcript and test your understanding, go to

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