“A band exists on what it does,” Keith Richards asserted before the audience on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, on Friday evening, the 20th. Keith’s assertion pertains to his band, The Rolling Stones, which has consistently embarked on world tours. Now, this legendary rock n’ roll band has officially released “Hackney Diamonds,” marking their first album of original music in 18 years.
The Rolling Stones’ previous album of original music was “A Bigger Bang” in 2005. As they celebrated their 60th anniversary in 2022, the group emphasized that they don’t dwell too much on how their music will be received while creating it.
“Hackney Diamonds” comes in the wake of the loss of their legendary drummer, Charlie Watts, who contributed to two of the tracks. This new album hit the music scene on October 20, becoming the band’s remarkable 31st album since their inception in 1962.
During a special event at a London theatre, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, the enduring core members of the 61-year-old band, took center stage to discuss the making of the album. Following this insightful conversation, they treated fans to the world premiere of the music video for the album’s lead single, “Angry,” featuring the talented actress Sydney Sweeney. This lead single was released on September 6.
Mick shared that “Hackney Diamonds” is a reference to the London borough of Hackney and explained that the term symbolizes shattered glass. “We were throwing ideas around the table,” Keith added. “We considered names like “Hit and Run,” “Smash and Grab,” and somehow from that mix, ‘Hackney Diamonds’ was born.”
Ronnie revealed the band began brainstorming ideas for this album around Christmas the previous year and set a deadline to complete it by Valentine’s Day. Remarkably, the creative process resulted in 23 songs spanning two albums, with the main album being completed in January and mixed in February.
Of the 12 songs on the album, two of them, “Live by the Sword” and “Mess it Up,” prominently feature the late Charlie Watts on drums. These tracks were recorded in 2019, before his passing in 2021 at the age of 80. Keith shared, “Ever since Charlie’s gone, it’s different, of course.” The rest of the album showcases the talent of Jordan, an old friend of the band’s, on drums, with Charlie personally endorsing him as his successor if the need ever arose.
Mick also mentioned that original Stones bassist Bill Wyman, who left the band in 1993, makes an appearance on “Live by the Sword” alongside Charlie. The song also features Elton John playing piano.
Other notable guests featured on “Hackney Diamonds” include Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder on the track “Sweet Sounds of Heaven”, as well as Paul McCartney playing the bass on “Bite My Head Off”.
Keith summed it up by saying, “After so long, usually if we like it, it travels.” Mick added, “We wouldn’t have put this album out if we hadn’t really liked it. Before we went in, we all said we’ve got to make a record that we really love ourselves, and other people may like it, other people may not. But we must say that we are quite pleased with it. I’m not saying we’re big-headed about it, but we’re pleased with it, and we hope you all like it.”