As tipped here last week, the Rolling Stones have today (Sept. 6) unveiled their new album, Hackney Diamonds, as well as its first single, “Angry.” The 12-song, Andrew Watt-produced project is the legendary group’s first offering of original music since 2005’s A Bigger Bang and its first studio album of any kind since the blues covers project Blue & Lonesome in 2016. The Stones shared the news during a media event at London’s Hackney Empire hosted by The Tonight Show‘s Jimmy Fallon.
Hackney Diamonds is enlivened by guest appearances from Lady Gaga on “Sweet Sounds of Heaven,” former Stones bassist Bill Wyman, and late drummer Charlie Watts, who died in 2021 but is featured on two songs recorded two years earlier, “Live by the Sword” and “Mess It Up.” Meanwhile, the video for “Angry” stars The White Lotus/Euphoria actress Sydney Sweeney. Pre-orders for the album and single are available now.
The album’s 10 other songs include drummer Steve Jordan, who has filled in for Watts since the latter’s passing. “Ever since Charlie’s gone, it’s different, of course,” guitarist Keith Richards said. “Of course, he’s missed incredibly. Thanks to Charlie, we have Steve Jordan, who was Charlie’s recommendation if anything should happen to him. It would have been a lot harder without Charlie’s blessing.”
Richards takes a rare lead vocal turn on “Tell Me Straight,” and told the audience, “I can tell you straight that I have no idea what it’s about.”
Hackney Diamonds was recorded at several studios, including New York’s Electric Lady, Los Angeles’ Henson Recording Studios, and Sanctuary Studios in Nassau, Bahamas, and was finished in a flurry of activity between last Christmas and this Valentine’s Day. Watt, who Mick Jagger said “kicked us up the ass” in the studio, is credited as a co-writer on “Angry” as well as “Depending on You” and “Get Close.”
“Before we went in, we all said, we’ve got to make a record that we really love ourselves,” Jagger added. “We must say that we’re all quite pleased with it, and we hope you all like it.”
As for the album title, it’s a tongue-in-cheek nod to bygone days in the neighborhood. “It’s like when you get your windscreen broken on Saturday night in Hackney, and all the bits go around the street,” Jagger joked, with Richards adding that Hit and Run and Smash and Grab were also considered.
When going song-by-song down the track list, guitarist Ronnie Wood at one pointed appeared to blurt out that Stevie Wonder also makes a guest appearance, but neither that, or a long-rumored Paul McCartney cameo, were confirmed.
It’s unknown whether the band is planning to tour in support of the album, having last performed live on Aug. 3, 2022, in Berlin. The Hackney Diamonds activity comes days after the Stones celebrated the 50th anniversary of their chart-topping album Goat’s Head Soup, which was originally released on Aug. 31, 1973, and six weeks after frontman Mick Jagger’s 80th birthday on July 26. Richards will himself turn 80 on Dec. 18.
Here is the track list for Hackney Diamonds:
“Depending on You”
“Bite My Head Off”
“Whole Wide World”
“Mess It Up”
“Live by the Sword”
“Driving Me Too Hard”
“Tell Me Straight”
“Sweet Sounds of Heaven”
“Morning Joe Cues”