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The Rolling Stones confirm details of new album Hackney Diamonds

(left to right) Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger, Jimmy Fallon and Keith Richards at the Rolling Stones Hackney Diamonds launch event at the Hackney Empire in London. Picture date: Wednesday September 6, 2023.
US talk show host Jimmy Fallon (second right) interviewed Sir Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards in Hackney

The Rolling Stones have unveiled their first album of original material since 2005, and the first since the death of drummer Charlie Watts.

Hackney Diamonds will feature 12 tracks and be released on 20 October, preceded by lead single Angry.

Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Sir Mick Jagger announced the album on Wednesday at an event in Hackney.

Richards said: "Ever since Charlie's gone, it's been different, he's number four. Of course he's missed."

But, he added, the new album will feature Steve Jordan in Watts' place, a drummer Richards said the band knew from "way back" and who filled Watts' seat on tour this summer.

"It would have been a lot harder without Charlie's blessing," Richards said, explaining that Watts had previously told the band Jordan should replace him if he ever was not around to record.

Watts died in 2021 aged 80, prior to the band's 60th anniversary tour, after suffering from throat cancer.

Sir Mick explained: "The album has 12 tracks. Most are with Steve, but two are tracks we recorded in 2019 with Charlie."

The album is preceded by a new lead single, titled Angry, which also received its premiere at the event in Hackney.

Euphoria actress Sydney Sweeney, who was sitting in the audience at the launch event where she was briefly interviewed by host Jimmy Fallon, features in the music video for the song.

In a five-star review, the Telegraph's Neil McCormick called the song "an absolute blast," describing it as the band's best single in 40 years.

Fans at the Rolling Stones Hackney Diamonds launch event at the Hackney Empire in London. Picture date: Wednesday September 6, 2023
Fans gathered outside Hackney Empire on Wednesday ahead for the launch of the band's new album

Discussing the recording of the album, Wood told Fallon: "We did it pretty quickly actually.

"There were lots of ideas floating around, we gathered them together just before Christmas last year and made a go of it."

The record will feature Lady Gaga, and other rumoured guest stars include Sir Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder.

Asked about the gap since 2016's Blue & Lonesome, an album of blues covers, Sir Mick said: "We've been on the road most of the time, maybe we were a bit too lazy, but then we said, 'let's put a deadline'."

He said the band cut 23 tracks, which were mixed in February, before deciding on the final 12 to include on the album.

Sir Mick said the sound of the album was "angry", like the title of the lead single, but added there was an "eclectic" mixture of genres on the record, including love songs and ballads.

He continued: "I don't want to be big headed but we wouldn't have put this album out if we hadn't really liked it. We said we had to make a record we really love ourselves.

"We are quite pleased with it, we are not big headed about it, but we hope you all like it."

Analysis box by Mark Savage, music correspondent
Analysis box by Mark Savage, music correspondent

The stage is littered with fallen chandeliers, the famous lips logo is slashed to pieces. The Stones might be entering their 80s, but they're not going quietly.

Sir Mick and Ronnie bound onto the stage, vamping for the crowd and stirring up a frenzy. Keith Richards hangs back in his shades and a trilby hat, forever cool.

They're in a playful mood, teasing Jimmy Fallon for his questions ("the first track is called Angry, what's the main emotion behind that?"), and singing an impromptu version of the 1965 track Off The Hook.

"Mick and Keith, you've been together longer than me an my wife. What's the secret?" asks a fan.

"Don't talk too much," Sir Mick fires back.

The trio are obviously energised by the new album, with Keith talking up the "damn funky riffs" and Sir Mick declaring: "We wouldn't have put this album out if we hadn't really liked it."

"I'll drink to that," replies Ronnie.

Rolling Stones fan poses for a picture on the day of the launch event of their new album "Hackney Diamonds", outside Hackney Empire in London, Britain, September 6, 2023
One fan posed in a hoodie and against a backdrop featuring the Stones' famous lips logo

They also confirm some of the big rumours - Lady Gaga will appear on a song called Sweet Sound Of Heaven, and drummer Charlie Watts features on two of the 12 songs.

The scale of the press conference is reassuringly old school. There's an endless free bar, a rowdy phalanx of paparazzi, and broadcasters from all around the world - Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, the US - elbowing each other for prime position.

Outside, pressed against the barriers, fans have come from just as far afield - waving banners and clutching albums in the hope Sir Mick's brought a Sharpie.

As it ends, we hear one new song: The rowdy and rambunctious Angry, which finds Mick Jagger in the middle of a domestic fight, snarling like a Rottweiler, but hoping for reconciliation.

If the relationship has to end, he says, "Let's go out in a blaze."

For what could realistically be the Stones' final album, that's a solid manifesto.

One fan told the BBC he had flown in from Poland just for the launch, which was also livestreamed on YouTube.

"They are the kings of rock and roll," he said. "We've been waiting 18 years to get some new Rolling Stones music and finally here it is. I think it's a really special day."

Another said: "It's fantastic that they're doing all this, I've been a fan of theirs for a very long time - I first saw them in the mid-1960s."

One attendee said he was a "hardcore fan" of the group. "It's so great they've come here today to Hackney," he said. "To me, they're original rockers, they've never changed, they're dynamite."

Fan outside the Hackney Empire in London, ahead of the Rolling Stones Hackney Diamonds launch event. Picture date: Wednesday September 6, 2023.
The band have not released an album of original songs since 2005, but did record a blues covers album, Blue & Lonesome, in 2016

Speaking to BBC News after the press conference, Wood confirmed the band would likely take the new material on tour.

Asked about Watts, he added: "I was with Charlie before he passed, and he said 'make sure Steve Jordan covers for me until I'm repaired enough to come and join you'. So Steve has his blessing, and that's a really comforting thing."

The last track on the album is a cover of Muddy Waters' Rollin' Stone, but Richards said it should not be perceived as the band saying goodbye.

"That's not intended," he said, "it was actually Andrew Watt who came up with a 1920s guitar, and said 'maybe you guys could finally do a song that the name of the band came from".

"And Mick and I looked at each other and said 'yeah, OK'. So there it is, it's more a tip of the hat to Muddy Waters, Chicago and all the blues men we learned our stuff from."

The announcement of Hackney Diamonds follows a teaser campaign that began with an unassuming advert in the Hackney Gazette - a free newspaper distributed in corner shops and supermarkets that covers the London borough.

Ostensibly for a local glazing firm, the blurb contained several references to Rolling Stones songs, and a phone number where fans could register interest.

Over the weekend, the band also shared a preview of one of the songs, via a website called

However, it was another elaborate ruse: after a prolonged loading screen, the site only played a short snippet of music before appearing to crash.

Rolling Stones band members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood attend a launch event for their new album "Hackney Diamonds", at Hackney Empire in London, Britain, September 6, 2023.
The group's new single was awarded five stars in the Telegraph, which said it was their best song in 40 years

The band responded to supposed difficulties on social media with the message, "Sorry, don't get angry with me" - a reference to the song's opening lyric.

But all was finally revealed in Hackney on Wednesday afternoon, with all three remaining Stones - Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood - in attendance.

"New album, new music, new era," a trailer for the livestream promised.

The album will be their first since 2016's Blue & Lonesome, which featured covers of the songs by Little Walter and Howlin' Wolf that first inspired them to form a band in the 1960s.

Before that, their last album of original material was 2005's A Bigger Bang, trumpeted as a return to basics, but which failed to reach the heights achieved by classics like Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main Street.

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