The Rolling Stones are back, and they’re ‘Angry’.
At least that is the title of the debut single from the band’s new album, the first in 18 years to contain a dozen original songs. It’s also the first album the band has recorded without drummer Charlie Watts, who died in 2021.
The three surviving Stones — Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood — came to East London’s Hackney district on Aug. 6 to unveil the new album, ‘Hackney Diamonds’ and announce its release date: Oct. 20.
Jagger said not all the songs are furious. The album also contains “love songs, ballads, country-type” sounds, he said.
Recorded in December and January at studios around the world, the album sees the Stones team up with Grammy-winning producer Andrew Watt. It features drummer Steve Jordan on 10 of the 12 tracks in Watts’ place. Two more songs were recorded in 2019 with Watts. Former Stone Bill Wyman also puts in an appearance on one track.
Hard-core fans lined up in a heatwave outside the Hackney Empire, where the band members were interviewed onstage by ‘The Tonight Show’ host Jimmy Fallon to an audience of dozens of sweltering journalists and an online audience around the world.
Inside the ornate former Edwardian musical hall where Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel once performed, Jagger, 80, Richards, 79 and Wood, 76 gave details of the Stones’ first studio album of new songs since ‘A Bigger Bang’ in 2005. The band released a set of blues covers, ‘Blue & Lonesome’, in 2016.
Of Watts, Richards said: “Of course he’s missed incredibly.”
The announcement of the new material follows a cryptic teaser campaign, in which a glittery, jagged version of the band’s iconic mouth and tongue logo was projected onto the façade of landmarks in cities around the world, including New York, London and Paris.
The band screened the video for ‘Angry’, which has a classic mid-tempo crunchy Stones sound. The clip features ‘Euphoria’ star Sydney Sweeney, shown cruising LA’s Sunset Boulevard in a red convertible, past billboards of the Stones from various eras.
Jagger joked that the reason the band hadn’t recorded an album in almost two decades was laziness.
“I don’t want to be big-headed but we wouldn’t have put this album out if we hadn’t really liked it,” Jagger said. “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.”
‘Hackney Diamonds’ is a slang term for shattered glass, and the band also teased fans with an ad in the local Hackney Gazette newspaper for a fictional glass repair business: “When you say gimme shelter, we’ll fix your shattered windows.”
Jagger said the phrase evoked “when you get your windscreen broken on Saturday night in Hackney and all the bits go on the street.”
Richards said the band hit upon the title after “flinging ideas around the table, and we went from ‘Hit and Run,’ ‘Smash and Grab’ — and somehow between that we came up with ‘Hackney Diamonds'.”
It was fitting, he said, because the Stones are a London band.
Founded in 1962, the Stones show no signs of planning to retire. Last year the band played a 60th-anniversary tour of Europe.
Brazilian fan Taric Fioravanti, from Sao Paulo, lined up to get a glimpse of the band, saying he hoped the new songs would sound like his favourite Stones album, ‘Some Girls’.
“I love these guys,” he said. “Keith Richards is one of the biggest guitar heroes in the history of rock music.
”(And) they’re 80 years old. Most bands have stopped making new music” by that age, he said.