The Rolling Stones have shared an insight into their first studio album of original music since 2005, saying the new record will feature appearances from original member Bill Wyman, singing superstar Lady Gaga and their late drummer Charlie Watts.
Their new LP Hackney Diamonds, which will be released on October 20, will be their first collection of original songs in 18 years, and the first since the death of Watts in August 2021.
Speaking at a highly anticipated launch event at the Hackney Empire in east London, hosted by US talk show host Jimmy Fallon, guitarist Keith Richards said: “Ever since Charlie is gone it’s different, he’s number four.
“He’s missing, of course he’s missed incredibly, but thanks to Charlie we have Steve Jordan [the drummer] who was his recommendation if anything should happen to him.
“He’s been a friend of ours so he was a natural progression, it would have been a lot harder without Charlie’s blessing.”
Frontman Sir Mick Jagger said there are 12 tracks on the album and, while most feature Jordan, there are two tracks recorded in 2019 with Watts.
Lady Gaga will also make a guest appearance, with Ronnie Wood saying: “Lady Gaga sings really sweet on [album track] Sweet Sound Of Heaven.”
Original band member Wyman, who was the bassist for the band from 1962 to 1993, features on one of the tracks.
Wyman was part of the band’s first stable line-up and performed on their first 19 albums.
Sir Mick said: “We asked Bill to come in and do one track so we have the original line-up on one track.”
— The Rolling Stones (@RollingStones) September 1, 2023
The band’s last album of new material was 2005’s A Bigger Bang. The band’s last studio album, released in 2016, was Blue & Lonesome and comprised blues covers.
Explaining the title of the new LP, Richards said: “We were flinging ideas around for titles and went from Hit And Run to Smash And Grab and we came up with Hackney Diamonds, which is variations of them both and we are a London band.”
Asked why it has been 18 years since the last album of original songs, Sir Mick joked they had been doing “other things”, but added: “Maybe we were a bit too lazy, so we said let’s put a deadline. We had this chat and said let’s make this record at Christmas and finish it by Valentine’s Day.”
The band unveiled the first single from the album, Angry, and premiered the video for the track, which features US actress Sydney Sweeney, best known for her roles in Euphoria and The White Lotus.
Sweeney was also at the event in east London and she said of being asked to appear in the video: “I freaked out and called my family and brought my mum.”
She added: “This is the biggest thing ever. I didn’t know it was going to be the first single but I love the song, it’s stuck in my head.”
The band features Sweeney in black leather writhing in the back seat of a red convertible as it drives along Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.
The car drives past billboards which show footage of the band over the years.
The new music had been teased online and in an advert in the Hackney Gazette, which appeared to be for a fictional glass repair business.
The advert included a website and a phone number which, when called, responded with the automated message: “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.”