6 Things The Rolling Stones Revealed About Their 24th Album ‘Hackney Diamonds’

The Rolling Stones revealed their 24th album, Hackney Diamonds, during a 20-minute livestream interview with Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday (September 6) on the band’s YouTube channel, and shared the video for their first single “Angry.”

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The 12-track Hackney Diamonds, out October 20, is the Rolling Stones’ first new album of material in 18 years since the release of A Bigger Band, and the band’s first album without drummer Charlie Watts, who died in 2021.

Speaking live from Hackney Empire Theater in Hackney, London, Fallon joined the Stones’ Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Ron Wood for an exclusive chat detailing the new album, including featured guests, mixing in some country music, the meaning(s) behind Hackney Diamonds, and more.

Here are six things the Rolling Stones revealed about Hackney Diamonds.

1. The Meaning of ‘Hackney Diamonds

At the start of the interview, the band went into why they called the album Hackney Diamonds.

“It got called ‘Hackney Diamonds’ because we were flinging ideas around for titles, and we went with ‘Hit and Run’ and ‘Smash and Grab,’ and somewhere between those we came up with ‘Hackney Diamonds,'” said Keith Richards. “And, also, it is a London band, so…”

Fallon pointed out that the term Hackney Diamonds is also slang. “It’s like when you get your windscreen broken on Saturday night in Hackney,” joked Jagger, “and all the bits go in the street.”

[RELATED: The Story Behind Mick Jagger and Keith Richards’ Writing Partnership]

2. They Recorded 23 Tracks

Though it took the band 18 years to release a new album, once they started on Hackney Diamonds, everything moved fast.

“We did it pretty quick,” said Wood. “Actually, there were a lot of ideas floating about, and we gathered them all together just before Christmas last year [2022] and made a go of it, didn’t we?”

Jagger joked that the band was being lazy. “We have done something on the road most of the time,” said Jagger of the time lapse between their previous album and Hackney Diamonds. “Maybe we’re a bit lazy, and then suddenly we said … ‘Let’s make a record and put a deadline [on it],’ so Keith, Ronnie, and I had this chat and we said, ‘Okay, we’ll make this record by Christmas, and we’re going to finish it by Valentine’s Day.'”

He added, “So we went into the studio like Ronnie said in December, and we cut 23 tracks very quickly. [We] finished them off in January and mixed them in February.

2. It Started in Jamaica

At first, the band went to Jamaica to kick some ideas around in the studio for Hackney Diamonds before recording in Los Angeles and New York City (at Electric Lady Studios) with producer Andrew Watt.

“Keith and I and Steve, and Matt [Matt Clifford, keyboardist] went to Jamaica and were gonna mess about in the studio,” said Jagger. “We started kicking ideas around, and we went to New York and Ronnie joined us. And then after that, we got a producer called Andy Watt [Andrew Watt], who kicked us up the ass. And then we went to Los Angeles and cut the tracks.”

Richards said making an album is one of the holy grails for the band. “It is where a band can come together,” he said. “Playing live is the other holy grail. [Recording] is where the guys can get together and pass around ideas without any interference, and when it works it’s great. There [are] some unholy grails too, believe me.”

3. Lead Single: “Angry”

Written while the band was recording in Jamaica, “Angry” is the lead single off Hackney Diamonds. Filled with classic Stones riffs, the song is about relational regrets and anger — I hear a melody ringing in my brain / You can keep the memories / Don’t have to be ashamed, sings Jagger before pleading Don’t get angry with me.

“That was the first one to stick out,” said Richards of the track.

Jagger joked: “Keith and I thought the theme of the album should be every track should be angry, anger and disgust. That’s the concept.”

[RELATED: Behind the Album: 50 Years of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Goats Head Soup’]

Wood interjected “Nobody could be angry for that long” to Fallon’s “You gotta meet my in-laws.”

Jagger added, “The second idea, which was not to make it about angry [in] every track, but to make them a bit more eclectic and have a few love songs, ballads, country kind of things. So we’ve got a mixture.”

Following their interview, the band also premiered the video for “Angry,” featuring actress Sydney Sweeney (White Lotus, Euphoria), sitting atop a convertible while cruising down the streets of Los Angeles, and passing billboards featuring vintage footage of the band throughout their career.

“This is the biggest thing ever,” said Sweeney, who was in the audience with her mother. “I didn’t know it was going to be the first single, but I love it. It’s been stuck in my head.”

3. Charlie Watts Appears on Two Tracks

Watts appears on the songs, “Live By The Sword” and “Mess It Up,” which he originally recorded with the band in 2019, while new drummer Steve Jordan appears on the remaining 10 tracks.

“Ever since Charlie’s gone, he’s been missed,” said Richards. “He’s number four. Of course, he’s missed incredibly, but thanks to Charlie, we have Steve Jordan, who was Charlie’s recommendation. If anything should happen to him, Steve Jordan is your man.”

Watts chose Jordan “way, way back,” according to Richards. “He’s [Jordan] been a friend of ours. I’ve worked with Steve, so it was a kind of natural progression. It would have been a lot harder without Charlie’s blessing.”

4. Bill Wyman

Former Stones’ bassist Bill Wyman, who left the band in 1993, returned to perform on “Live By the Sword,” which was recorded in 2019 along with Watts.

“We asked Bill to come into the studio,” said Jagger. “Bill came in and did one track, so we had the original Stones, in the sessions, on one track.”

5. Stevie Wonder and Lady Gaga

It was also revealed that Stevie Wonder appears on a track called “Sweet Sounds of Heaven,” along with Lady Gaga.

6. Track List

As Fallon ran down the track list of Hackney Diamonds, the band offered a few words on each.

“Angry”
“Anger, that brings me,” joked Jagger. Richards added, “As I was listening to the words, I was thinking ‘It’s a damn funky riff.'”

“Get Close”
“Yes,” said Jagger flirtingly.

“Depending on You”
“That’s when you want to rely on someone, and they let you down,” shared Jagger of the track.

“Bite My Head Off”
“That’s like when your girlfriend gets really mad with you, and you say ‘Will you Please stop talking,'” offered Jagger. “It’s a rude way of saying that.”

Wood joked “Is that what it’s about?”

“Whole Wide World”
“Funky riff, ‘Whole Wide World,” said Richards, “really funky.”

“Dreamy Skies”
“It’s Mick being stranded and trying to get away from it all right,” said Wood. “He said ‘I want to get it away from it all and listen to a bit of old Hank Williams … and a bit of honky tonk.”

“Mess It Up”
“That’s your song,” Jagger said to Fallon.

“Live by the Sword”
One of the tracks featuring Watts, Jagger called it “slightly retro.”

“Drive Me Too Hard”
Jagger said, “Keith can tell you what that’s about.” Richards said, “It’s got a lovely riff and melody, and there it is.”

“Tell Me Straight”
“I can tell you straight that I have no idea what it’s about,” says Richards, who also sings on the track.

“Sweet Sounds of Heaven”
The band described this song, featuring Lady Gaga and Wonder, as “gospel.”

“Morning Joe Cues”
No info was shared by the band on the closing track.

“But I must tell you, [and] I don’t want to be big-headed, but we wouldn’t have put this album out if we hadn’t really liked it,” said Jagger of Hackney Diamonds. “We didn’t want to make just any record and put it out. We wanted to make records before we went in and we also got to make a record that we really love ourselves. 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, so we hope you all like it.”

Photo: Mark Seliger / Courtesy of Rogers & Cowan PMK

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