The Rolling Stones confirm details of new album Hackney Diamonds

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Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, and Mick Jagger arrived in Hackney at lunchtime on Wednesday ahead of the album launch
By Mark Savage and Steven McIntosh
BBC News

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

Hackney Diamonds, will feature 12 tracks and be released in October.

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 the band say they know 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.

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

Fans gathered outside Hackney Empire on Wednesday ahead of the launch event

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 album is rumoured to feature a number of guest stars including Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Lady Gaga.

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 added: “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.”

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.

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, 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. 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.”

The band have not released an album of original songs since 2005, but did release a blues covers album, Blue & Lonesome, in 2016

The announcement 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.

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.

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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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