The Rolling Stones’ Next Album to Include Paul McCartney

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The World’s Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band (Photo: RANKIN; used with permission)

A new Rolling Stones studio album has been in the works for years, way before the passing of drummer Charlie Watts in 2021. And on Feb. 21, 2023, came a report from Variety that Paul McCartney has recorded bass parts for the album. (The publication said that Ringo Starr was also expected to contribute to it but a Stones representative said on Feb. 22 that was not the case.) The rep noted that McCartney performs on one song. Though the Stones released a new studio album in 2016, Blue and Lonesome, it was essentially a blues covers album. This next, still-unnamed album will mark their first new studio effort of new material written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards since 2005’s A Bigger Bang.

In its story, Variety wrote that the Stones are working with Grammy Award-winning producer Andrew Watt. The publication’s research noted that McCartney had a recent history with Watt. “I’ve been recording with a couple of people, so I’m looking forward to doing even more,” he wrote on his website. “I’ve started working with this producer called Andrew Watt, and he’s very interesting — we’ve had some fun. Beyond that, I don’t have anything massive planned … at the moment!”

Variety‘s story indicated that the Stones were recording in Los Angeles in recent weeks. In October 2022, both Jagger and Richards were spotted entering and exiting New York City’s famed Electric Lady Studios.

In an Oct. 2022 interview with U.K.’s The Sun, Ronnie Wood confirmed that Watts performs on some of the upcoming album’s tracks, as does drummer Steve Jordan. In 2021, Richards told the Los Angeles Times, “You haven’t heard the last of Charlie Watts.”

In a Jan. 11, 2023, tweet, Richards posted a brief clip where he said, “There’s some new music on its way,” and even teased a possible 2023 tour: “Hopefully we’ll get to see you…. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.”

All the way back on Oct. 28, 2020, Jagger shared a clip from what was possibly a new track from an upcoming Stones album. The legend posted a clip on his social media platforms of a 46-second video of him singing a song identified as “Pride Before a Fall.” (Watch it below.) A new Stones album is definitely in the works, Richards revealed in a Sept. 8, 2020, interview with BBC Radio 2’s The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show. The guitarist confirmed that the band was in the process of laying down studio tracks—or was until the coronavirus interrupted the project.

Asked at the time in the early months of the pandemic if he had been in touch with Jagger, Richards told the interviewer, “Yeah, all the time, exchanging ideas. But,” he added, referring to his chief collaborator, “’I’d rather be looking you in the face, man.’”

Watch Jagger sing what is presumably called “Pride Before a Fall”

On April 23, 2020, the Stones surprised their fans with a new song, “Living in a Ghost Town,” recorded for the next album. The song, Richards said, “came from a first bunch of things we recorded for this album. But because of all of this… the virus… it’s screwed up any plans you could have had. ‘Oh, we’re not on the road… you can go in the studio…’ It’s not that simple. We’re biding our time at the moment and I’m gonna do a little bit of work on it with Don Was, our producer, next month, just to prod things along a little bit. Otherwise, until we can all get back together again, we’re like an octopus with all the legs chopped off, you know? I’m missing this year… I’m supposed to be on the road now.”

Listen to “Living in a Ghost Town”

“Ghost,” the Stones first of original music since 2012, was recorded “well over a year ago,” meaning at least in 2019, said Richards, “and then shit hit the fan [and] Mick and I decided that this one really needed to go to work right now.”

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