RIP Charlie Watkins

Charlie Watkins, who formed Watkins Electric Music in 1949 has died at the age of 91. He was responsible for the Watkins Copicat, the brilliant WEM Dominator and Westminster combos and the first stadium capable PA systems. Pink Floyd, The Who and many other British rock pioneers used his equipment. Check out - YouTube to see Charlie’s own “Wall of Sound”. RIP Charlie.

who can forget the WEM side fills at isle of wight concert 1970. RIP

In Toronto many years ago (1971-73) I had a bass player friend from Ireland
who turned me on to Charlie and that whole (as thermonic wrote):

stadium capable PA system


Musically I would turn him onto bands like EW&Fire and Eagles and Steely Dan and Tower of Power
and he would turn me on to bands like Yes/Pink Floyd/ELP/Humble Pie/Deep Purple.

I hipped him to Rolling Stone mag while he hipped me to ‘New Music Express’ mag
where you could read ads for band like


‘Emersom Lake and Palmer’ USING THE PINK FLOYD SOUND SYTEM developed by Charlie Watkins.

At the time the American equivalent top sound system (other than Disney on Parade etc)
was owned by the Grateful Dead and their hundreds of ‘AR3a’ speaker approach.

Guess we know now which approach finally won the day.
Go Charlie! And 91 years old? Not bad. Not bad at all.


I used a Watkins Copycat years ago, 'had to have one 'cause I liked the way Hank Marvin used echo (it was’nt called ‘delay’ then) in The Shadows. The only problem was that the joint in the loop always wore out rather quickly creating a noise, or glitch. Still, I loved that unit!

RIP Mr Watkins :frowning:.