Rolling Stones Share New Video From ‘Hackney Diamonds’ Album

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Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger at the Rolling Stones’ press event on September 6, 2023

When the Rolling Stones announced their new studio album, Hackney Diamonds, at a much-ballyhooed, live stream press event on September 6, 2023, the trio of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood offered many of its details. The album, that arrived October 20 via Geffen Records, was introduced that day at the free-wheeling event on YouTube that was hosted by Jimmy Fallon, from the Hackney Empire Theatre in London, following an elaborate teaser campaign. At the time, the band introduced the album’s first track, “Angry,” and its accompanying video, shot on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles and featuring actress Sydney Sweeney while paying homage to iconic billboards of the ’70s. The Stones’ beloved drummer, Charlie Watts, who died in 2021, performs on two of the album’s best tracks, “Mess It Up” and “Live By the Sword,” both recorded in 2019. (Former Stones bassist Bill Wyman also performs on the latter.)

The band will support Hackney Diamonds with a 2024 North American tour. Tickets are available here and here.

Hackney Diamonds marks the Stones’ first collaboration with New York-born producer and musician Andrew Watt, who was named Producer of the Year at the 2021 GRAMMY® Awards and has worked with Post Malone and Elton John.

Paul McCartney plays bass on “Bite My Head Off.” Elton John contributes piano on “Get Close” as well as on “Live By the Sword.” Stevie Wonder (keys and piano) and Lady Gaga (vocals) are both on “Sweet Sounds of Heaven.”

Jagger talked to Apple Music’s Zane Lowe about working with Gaga. “She’s a really great singer and I’d never heard her sing quite that style before. Not exactly,” he said. “We did it live in the room and that was a great experience, her just coming in the room and her just opening up and seeing her bits and feeling her way and then getting more confident. And then we came back and then did some extra parts that we hadn’t done on the day and then we did some tidying up and we were just in the overdub room, really face-to-face, getting them really tight, the parts really tight, and then being slightly competitive and screaming.

Of the session with Wonder, Jagger told Apple Music 1, “It’s all played live. And of course we did overdubs, but it’s all played in the room. Yeah, there’s that moment, especially in that session where we had Stevie, and you’re feeling your way out a little bit and then you do that soul ending, which is you do sometimes on stage where you stop and you start. It’s very kind of tried and tested redoubling thing. But, yeah, I mean, it really feels like, yeah, it is played live… it was a good moment…”

Listen to the soaring “Sweet Sounds of Heaven”

Lady Gaga explained how the collaboration went down from her perspective. “Mick was smiling saying ‘go on and do your thing then.’ I listened to the music and scribbled furiously trying to learn the tune and then freestyled and sang along.. trying not to step on everyone’s toes cuz Andrew [Watt] had the whole room mic’d the way they did back in the day, and I didn’t want my vocals to bleed into any of the magic they’d been making.

“Andrew texted me the next day saying Mick wanted to cut the vocals WITH me that night-the way he’d cut them back in the day. Same room, two mics. Single takes. I thought about [Merry] Clayton… ‘Gimme Shelter’ …gospel and soul.”

Watch the Stones perform the track with Lady Gaga at an intimate concert in New York on Oct. 19

At the Sept. 6 event, Richards was asked about Watts’ absence. “Ever since Charlie’s gone, it’s different, of course” he said. “Of course, he’s missed… incredibly. Thanks to Charlie, we’ve got Steve Jordan, who [Charlie picked]. It would have been a lot harder [to continue] without Charlie’s blessing.”

The decision to release a new studio album required one overriding decision. “We have to make a record that we really love ourselves,” said Jagger. Twenty-three tracks were recorded at the various sessions.

“Angry” was released in time to be nominated for a Grammy Award (for Best Rock Song).

On Sept. 24, they shared a “making-of” the video.

Richards was asked how they came up with the name for the album. “We were flinging ideas around for titles and we went from ‘Hit and Run,’ ‘Smash and Grab,'” he said, “and somehow we came up with Hackney Diamonds, which is a variation of them both.” Fallon later asked him if recording is still fun. “Yeah, it is fun,” he said. “It’s where the guys can get together and pass around ideas without any interference. When it works… it’s a great place for a band to work it all out.”

“When you go in, you’ve got to please yourselves. It’s playing for yourselves first,” added Jagger. “Later on, you might think, ‘Oh, people might like this’… or maybe they won’t like this.” (laughs)

The Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (Photo: Mark Seliger; used with permission)

The news of the live event was shared at around 1:40 p.m. via a clip featuring The Tonight Show‘s Jimmy Fallon indicating that he would host a Q-and-A with Jagger, Richards and Wood in attendance. The teaser campaign evolved almost daily for the previous week. On September 1, the Stones shared a brief audio clip of a new track, “Angry,” and made it available on a micro website, DontGetAngryWithMe.com, that intentionally took a long time to load. The latest teaser followed one on August 29 at around 4 p.m. ET when the band’s social media platforms displayed images of the artwork for the upcoming album, Hackney Diamonds. Photos of the artwork were displayed on buildings throughout the world (e.g., Wellington Arch in London, the Brooklyn Bridge), and the microsite for the album title went “live.”

Watch the September 6 press event hosted by Jimmy Fallon

The “advertisement” for Hackney Diamonds, the title of the upcoming Rolling Stones studio album

The rumor mill for the new Rolling Stones studio album began working overtime on August 21 when an internet sleuth noticed an “advertisement” from a U.K.-based company called Hackney Diamonds. The ad makes numerous not-so-difficult-to-follow references to the band including the fictitious company’s age (“Est. 1962,” the same year as the Stones and, yes, the 60th anniversary gemstone is a diamond), while name-dropping numerous song titles in its “wink wink” ad copy: “Our friendly team promises you Satisfaction. When you say Gimme Shelter we’ll fix your shattered windows.” There’s even a tiny Stones’ lips-and-tongue logo above the company’s name. And if you were to go to microsite HackneyDiamonds.com and clicked on the Privacy link, you’ll be taken to a page from the Universal Music Group, the Stones’ label. It all resulted in two noted music forums, SteveHoffman.TV and IORR.org, to spin off lengthy threads of news of the new album into ones specifically for the album’s presumed title, Hackney Diamonds. (The original IORR thread—if you need to ask what the letters stand for, you better brush up on your Stones’ discography—began on Dec. 9, 2016. When the discovery of the title was shared, the spinoff thread was created after—get this—the original thread had reached 704 pages.)

The evolving Hackney Diamonds website on Aug. 29, 2023

Those calling the U.K. phone number reportedly got a recording that says, “Welcome to Hackney Diamonds, specialists in glass repair. Don’t get angry, get it fixed. Opening early September. Mare Street, E8. Register for a call at HackneyDiamonds.com. Come on then!”

The new Rolling Stones studio album had been in the works for years, way before the passing of Watts in 2021. And although the Sept. 6 news event made no mention of guest artists on the album, on June 9, 2023, came a report from the Sun newspaper that Wyman, the bass guitarist for the band’s first three decades, had flown to Los Angeles and recorded a track on the album. Wyman, who left the Stones in 1993, agreed to perform on the still-untitled album as a tribute to Watts, who also is heard on many of the sessions he participated on before his death in August 2021. A source told the Sun, “Bill hasn’t seen the band together for years, but always loved Charlie. This record’s really a tribute to Charlie, so he couldn’t say no.” Wyman turned 86 last October 24.

Hackney Diamonds was recorded in various locations around the world, including Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles; Metropolis Studios, London; Sanctuary Studios, Nassau, Bahamas; Electric Lady Studios, New York; and The Hit Factory/Germano Studios, also in New York.

In a June 24 interview with Variety to promote his new book on London’s Chelsea neighborhood, Wyman confirmed his involvement but indicated that it was done remotely. “When Mick (Jagger) asked if I would play on one of the tracks in tribute to Charlie, of course I immediately said yes,” he said. “But I haven’t flown in decades, so I just went over to Metropolis Studios here in London and recorded my part. Mick indicated he’s delighted with the track, so that’s a bonus, but that’s the extent of my ‘return.’ Are we finished talking about the Stones today?”

More on the album appears below the Amazon links.

The Rolling Stones Hackney Diamonds Track Listing
Angry
Get Close
Depending On You
Bite My Head Off
Whole Wide World
Dreamy Skies
Mess It Up
Live By the Sword
Driving Me Too Hard
Tell Me Straight (lead sung by Richards)
Sweet Sounds of Heaven (with Stevie Wonder and Lady Gaga)
Rolling Stone Blues

On Feb. 21 came a report from Variety that McCartney had recorded bass parts for the album. [The publication said that Ringo Starr was also expected to contribute to it but the next day a Stones representative said that was not the case.] Though the Stones released a new studio album in 2016, Blue and Lonesome, it was essentially a blues covers album. Hackney Diamonds will mark their first new studio effort of new material written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards since 2005’s A Bigger Bang.

McCartney has 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!”

In an August 2023 interview to promote his own 2023 tour, McCartney told Brazil’s O Globo, “I realized that I had known these guys forever, that I had been to their shows, and they to ours, and that John (Lennon) and I had even done some backing vocals for one of their songs. But I had never played with them, all together, in the same room. So I loved it.”

In his Sept. 28 interview with Apple Music 1, Jagger told Zane Lowe how the collaboration came about. “We kind of often text each other and stuff. The thing was that Andy had said to me, ‘Look, I’m working on this, Mick. It’s had my complete attention, my complete focus, for six months.’ And then he said to me, ‘I didn’t really tell you completely the truth because I had this week booked with Paul McCartney right in the middle’… right in the middle of the three weeks we got booked for, we only had three weeks booked for cutting tracks. ‘So right in the middle of the three weeks, I’ve got Paul McCartney booked.’ He says, ‘It’s the only thing I couldn’t cancel.’ And I said, ‘Well, it’s all right. We will take a few days off. It’s all right. We’ve got time. And we’ve got a lot of great stuff.’ And he said, ‘Well, yeah, but why don’t we invite Paul for one of the days and get him to play?’ And I said, ‘Well, yeah, that’s a great idea.’ So Andy called Paul and asked him if he wanted to come on one of his days that Andy had promised him.”

Watch Jagger’s interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe

Bill Wyman reunited with the Stones at this performance in London in 2012.

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.”

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5 Comments so far

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  1. TyStick
    #1 TyStick 11 June, 2023, 09:19

    Where’s Mick Taylor? The Stones definitely should have asked him to play on the new album. He created the Golden years for the Stones with his sleek guitar playing. They were “The Greatest Rock and Roll Band” when Mister Taylor was in the band.

    Reply this comment
    • Nick the Beast from Crotona Park East
      Nick the Beast from Crotona Park East 19 June, 2023, 10:37

      I agree 100%, AND they should make him an official tour member.
      B.T.W. = Love your username. \(• ◡ •)/

      Reply this comment
    • Batchman
      Batchman 1 September, 2023, 19:49

      Yes, Mick Taylor deserves to be recognized for being part of some of the best years the Stones ever had. I hate to rag on Jon Landau again for his criticism of the Stones’ “Sticky Fingers” album, but he called Taylor’s guitar soloing “really boring.” (He also called the Doors “aimless washed-out organ music.”) The best thing that ever happened to rock criticism was when Landau abandoned it to run after Springsteen.

      Reply this comment
  2. Unsteady Freddie
    #2 Unsteady Freddie 24 August, 2023, 10:36

    They’ve been a band for 60 YEARS, and look at the excitement they still generate!

    Reply this comment
    • STARPUNK
      STARPUNK 29 August, 2023, 00:43

      One thing about them is that they’ve kept on releasing new albums, and they’ve never truly followed trends (thank God) they have embraced several styles they did not invent such as reggae, funk, country-rock, psychedelic, world music and even punk. And that gives them an appeal that spans generations. I know, I’ve seen the Stones live two times. Their audience spans the whole spectrum.

      Reply this comment

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