The Rolling Stones have unveiled details of their much anticipated new album, Hackney Diamonds – and lead single Angry – at a star-studded press conference in London.
“I don’t want to be big-headed but we wouldn’t have put this album out if we hadn’t really liked it,” Sir Mick told the audience. “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.”
Speaking to Sky News on the red carpet outside Hackney Empire, Sir Mick and Wood confirmed that Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder both feature on the album.
On stage, the trio said the record had been made quite quickly after getting together in December last year. They decided on the name, they said, after thinking of titles to do with “Hit And Run, Smash And Grab” – eventually choosing the London slang as The Rolling Stones are “a London band”.
This is their first album of original songs in 18 years and their first release since the death of drummer Charlie Watts in 2021 – they paid tribute to him at the event, saying it would have been “a lot harder” to make the record without his blessing.
Revealing further details of the record, Sir Mick said it features 12 tracks, with two recorded in 2019 with Watts. Fans can look forward to its release on 20 October. Original band member Bill Wyman, who was the bassist for the band from 1962 to 1993, also features on one of the tracks.
Making albums and touring are the “Holy Grail” of being a music artist, Richards said, as he discussed what it was like to get back into the studio with his bandmates.
“It is fun, it is where a band can come together, playing live is the other Holy Grail, but to record is where the guys can come together and pass around ideas without any interference. It’s a great place for a band to work it all out,” he said.
Asked if they think about how fans will react to their music, Richards added: “No, we just cross our fingers.”
Hundreds of fans lined up outside the Hackney Empire on one of the hottest days of the year to be among the first to hear the news on Wednesday, with international press from around the world, Australia to Germany, also gathering. Guests were treated to cupcakes featuring the famous Rolling Stones tongue logo.
Hackney Diamonds sounds like it will be worth the 18-year wait
Packed into a theatre full of journalists and music executives on one of the hottest days of the year, music nerds might have been sweating in their seats as they waited to hear music’s worst-kept secret – but on stage Mick, Keith and Ronnie were effortlessly cool.
A new album? Check. An impromptu a cappella performance? Check. Casual mentions that you’ve got Stevie Wonder and Lady Gaga on this one? Check.
For a band that’s been going now for 61 years, their charisma, their appeal, clearly hasn’t diminished. Will Hackney Diamonds get to number one? Certainly. Would anything they put out get to number one? Probably.
But crucially – dare we say it out loud – it sounds like it’s going to be really good. For fans, 18 years was worth the wait.
During the event, the band premiered the video for Angry – revealing it stars Euphoria and The White Lotus actress Sydney Sweeney, who sits in the back seat of a red convertible driving past Stones billboards in Los Angeles.
The star, sitting in the crowd, told Fallon she “freaked out and called my family” after being asked to feature in the video, describing it as “the biggest thing ever” that she has worked on.
Angry is a theme of the album, Sir Mick said, but added that the album also contains “love songs, ballads, country-type” songs. The song features a riff that sounds uniquely Rolling Stones, and will no doubt please fans hoping the band have not strayed too far from the sound that made them one of the biggest acts in music history.
Fallon also highlighted the long break since their last album of original songs, 2005’s A Bigger Bang, with Sir Mick responding jokily to say they had been “very lazy” – before adding: “We have done something! We’ve been on the road most of the time.”
Fans were first alerted in August by an advert placed in the Hackney Gazette, supposedly for a glass repair store, featuring lyrics from the band’s best-known hits.
The advert also included a website and phone number, leading to a recorded message with a greeting from a male voice, with a Cockney accent, which said: “Welcome to Hackney Diamonds, specialists in glass repair. Don’t get angry, get it fixed.”
Over the weekend, another website – dontgetangrywithme.com – also appeared, with details of today’s event confirmed on Monday.
“New album, new music, new era,” the band promised, revealing a short video skit featuring Fallon being summoned to the UK via a “Stones phone”.
The Rolling Stones formed in the early 1960s and have had eight number one singles in the UK, including (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, Paint It Black, and Honky Tonk Women.
In 1989, they were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and they marked their 60th anniversary with a European tour in 2022, covering 10 countries including a performance at British Summer Time (BST) festival at London’s Hyde Park.