The Rolling Stones have unveiled their first original album in 18 years, and revealed what spurred the 61-year-old band to create new music.
Hackney Diamonds was launched on stage at the Hackney Empire theatre in east London early on Wednesday (AEST), hosted by US comedian Jimmy Fallon.
The band’s surviving core, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, discussed the recording before the premiere of the video of single Angry.
The new song, which one reviewer said was the band’s best in 40 years, features actress Sydney Sweeney of White Lotus fame.
Frontman Jagger, 80, said the band was “pretty fired up” to record new music.
“Every day was kind of like banging through two or three songs, so you keep the excitement,” he told Reuters after the launch, which was streamed live.
The album had a contemporary sound, with a mixture of rock, ballads, dance and a “country-ish kind of thing,” he said.
It was the Stones’ first album of original music since the death of drummer Charlie Watts in 2021.
Richards, whose song-writing partnership with Jagger is one of the most enduring and successful in rock, said Watts’s 2021 death had spurred the band to record new music.
“I think because of Charlie passing, we felt that we are still going and that we should still retain an identity and still say ‘Hey, it’s only rock and roll. But you know here we are’,” the 79-year-old said.
Former Stones bass player Bill Wyman, new drummer Steve Jordan, ex-Beatle Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder were all involved in the album, the band told broadcasters.
Wood said McCartney, who played bass on one track, was “blown away” to record with the band, which rivalled the Beatles in its effect on rock music in the 1960s.
“You know, he was loving it,” he said.
Award-winning producer Andrew Watt helmed the 12-track album, which was recorded in locations including London, Los Angeles and Nassau.
The recording, whose title refers to broken glass after a robbery, will be released on October 20.
The three Stones – all dressed in black – arrived in a London taxi decorated with the band’s tongue and lips logo. Jagger paid the fare in cash.
“I don’t want to be big-headed but we wouldn’t have put this album out if we hadn’t really liked it,” he told US talk show host Jimmy Fallon on stage.
Fans have been awaiting the announcement since a cryptic advertisement appeared in a local newspaper last month, with references to some of the Stones’ biggest tracks and the name of the album.
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