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The Rolling Stones Hackney Diamonds Album 2023

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Band 2
Tim Ries

The Rolling Stones
Hackney Diamonds
New Album by October 20, 2023

Last Update Oct. 20, 2023

The new Rolling Stones album "Hackney Diamonds" was released Oct 20, 2023. These pages are a compilation of the most important parts of the album release, including graphics, press events and other information related to the album.

IORR Forum talks: Hackney Diamonds - Album Talk

Please help in by sending additional information, corrections, spell check updates, anything relevant to these pages, to the IORR Editor at the e-mail address: [email protected]

The Rolling Stones announced their new studio album "Hackney Diamonds" on September 6. Also, they released their new single Angry on Sep 6. The announcement was done with a press event at the Hackney Empire in Hackney, London UK on Wednesday Sep 6.

Hackney Diamonds track list:

  1. Angry
  2. Get Close
  3. Depending On You
  4. Bite My Head Off (with Paul McCartney)
  5. Whole Wide World
  6. Dreamy Skies
  7. Mess It Up (From 2019 sessions, with Charlie Watts)
  8. Live By The Sword (From 2019 sessions, with Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman)
  9. Driving Me Too Hard
  10. Tell Me Straight (Keith)
  11. Sweet Sounds Of Heaven (with Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder)
  12. Rolling Stone Blues (Muddy Waters classic)
12 songs, 48 minutes
A Polydor Records Release
October 20, 2023

The album "Hackney Diamonds", and related single(s), will be available in a large number of formats and packages. For details and ordering information please see: The Rolling Stones official web pages

Track by track

The band


Get Close

Depending On You

Bite My Head Off (with Paul McCartney)

Whole Wide World

Dreamy Skies

Mess It Up (From 2019 sessions, with Charlie Watts)

Live By The Sword (From 2019 sessions, with Charlie Watts and with Bill Wyman)

Driving Me Too Hard

Tell Me Straight (Keith)

Sweet Sounds Of Heaven (with Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder)

Rolling Stone Blues (Muddy Waters classic)

Hackney Diamonds preview by The Times

Selected press was given pre-release copies of the "Hackney Diamonds" album ahead of the press release on Sept. 6. One of these were The Times:

I’ve heard Hackney Diamonds - It’s the best Rolling Stones album since 1978 Will Hodgkinson, The Times, UK - Sep. 06, 2023

The following is what The Times is sayng about the tracks on the new album:

Over the past few weeks I have had the chance to speak to Jagger, Richards and Wood about Hackney Diamonds. “I’ve been googling you, as you do,” says Jagger, a cheerful figure at the centre of a large sofa, at the other end of a Zoom call from his house in France. Then he reveals, in a manner that suggests he doesn’t take himself or the Rolling Stones too seriously, that Hackney Diamonds was not an easy album to make. ...

I have been lucky enough to hear the whole of Hackney Diamonds. And although the plan was to crush me to death by a giant tongue logo should I announce to the world the song titles or the guests popping up throughout, in the event the Stones revealed the lot themselves in Hackney. All the remaining original Stones reunited on a track recorded in 2019, with Charlie Watts, who died in 2021, and Bill Wyman contributing to Live by the Sword. ...

Paul McCartney has already been confirmed as playing bass on one track, while Richards sings a lamenting slow number called Tell Me Straight. All are originals but one: Rolling Stone Blues, the Muddy Waters classic that gave the band their name but which, funnily enough, they have never covered before. ...

Jagger has written a song called Dreamy Skies about getting away from it all, while Stevie Wonder and Lady Gaga make appearances on Sweet Sounds of Heaven, a gospel-infused future classic. The Stones were recording at Henson studios in Los Angeles and, as Mick puts it, “I was singing away when I looked down to see a woman at my feet and went, ‘Oh, it’s Lady Gaga.’ ” ...

Sweet Sounds is a highlight of an album that is unquestionably the Stones’ best since 1978’s Some Girls. Variously poignant, irreverent, anarchic, and even quite spiritual on that track — although as Richards says to Jagger at the Hackney Empire, “You’ve never been to church in your life” — it touches on all the aspects we love about the band, glued together by the rambunctious energy they have made their own since the early Sixties. ...

The first single, Angry, is driven by a riff similar to the one in Start Me Up and accompanied by a video of the White Lotus actress Sydney Sweeney driving down LA’s Sunset Strip in a convertible as various versions of Jagger, Richards, Wood and Wyman pop up on billboards and Jagger asks why everyone is so angry with him. It is classic Stones: simple, exciting, a little ridiculous, imbued with that magical, almost innocent quality that makes the world seem like a better place. ...

Jagger’s answer to the problem of making a great Stones album in 2023 was to erase any overthinking by going in fast. The Stones had tried a similar approach on Some Girls, which was recorded in the space of a few weeks at EMI’s Pathé Marconi studio in Paris. Now, after knocking a few songs into shape with Richards, the pianist Matt Clifford and the drummer Steve Jordan at GeeJam studios in Jamaica, Jagger arranged for Andrew Watt, an enthusiastic 32-year-old producer with a love of classic rock and credits on recent Iggy Pop and Ozzy Osbourne albums, to come down to some sessions at Electric Lady studios in New York to see if the other band members could handle his unique energy. From there, the Stones and their cohorts cut the bulk of the album at Henson in LA and Sanctuary studios in the Bahamas, mostly in the space of a month at the start of 2023. ...

... You certainly feel it was the singer who was pushing the whole thing along. “Mick is a great one for pushing,” confirms Richards, who seems like a great one for holding back, even down to the tempo of the song. “Mick says, ‘It goes like this,’ I say, ‘No, it goes a bit slower,’ but honestly, you play it by f***ing ear. If it feels right then it is right. Making an album with the Stones is controlled madness. Mick is the controller and I’m the madness.” Richards is at his house in Connecticut, where a library room seems to be increasingly providing one of rock’s greatest dissolutes with all the stimulation he needs. He’s even given up smoking. “That is Mick’s whole thing: let’s do it,” he says of Jagger’s legendary drive. “In this instance it was the right time to put the boot behind us and get going.” ...

There was the challenge of getting everyone match-fit, not least because the plan was to record the album as live as possible and with a minimum of overdubs. Surely two huge world tours from 2018 to 2022, with a break for a global pandemic in the middle, must have helped. “You’d be surprised by how rusty you get, very quickly indeed,” Jagger counters. “You’ve got to practise all the time or you lose the vocal high notes and the finger dexterity. In the studio you must learn new parts, do them, and have the strength and ability to do multiple takes.” ...

Hackney Diamonds preview by The Irish Times

It helps that Angry, the first track on the first album of original material by the Rolling Stones since A Bigger Bang, from 2005, is a certifiable swaggerer of a song. It has a riff that sounds like a disreputable cousin of Start Me Up and a filthy guitar solo that makes you wonder how Keith Richards’s fingers are still able to move so quickly. The second track, Close to You, also sticks closely to the winning blueprint the band virtually patented from the mid-1960s onwards.

There is more. The superior blues-rock vibe of Depending on You sounds like something Hozier would cut his hair off for. Bite My Head Off (featuring crunchy fuzzbox bass by Paul McCartney plus another rippling guitar solo by Richards) is an urgent, sweary track that might have you absent-mindedly reaching for a bottle of beer before your morning coffee.

Dreamy Skies is straight out of their folder of broken-down-pick-up country songs (“an old AM radio is all that I’ve got, it just plays Hank Williams and some bad honky-tonk …”), while Driving Me Too Hard is embedded in that eminently melodic configuration of effortless guitar solos and she-done-me-wrong lyrics (“every time I give a little bit, you muscle in and take it all”) that are the band’s lingua franca.


No one expects the Stones’ quality control to reach the same heights as in their heyday (fans have felt the bruise of disappointment far too often for that), and, true to form, a few songs here are run of the mill – Mess It Up and Live by the Sword, both from 2019 sessions with the band’s late original drummer, Charlie Watts, and Tell Me Straight, the obligatory album offering from Richards.

But when you add the aforementioned stone-cold Stones crackers to Sweet Sounds of Heaven, an extemporised, exultant and drawn-out gospel tune featuring Lady Gaga duelling with Mick Jagger, you have a batch of songs that are the best the band has delivered in decades. Learn more

“You think the party’s over but it’s only just begun,” Jagger sings on Whole Wide World. We’re not saying the party will continue for much longer, but it looks as if the Rolling Stones won’t leave until they’re kicked out.

Hackney Diamonds review by The Telegraph

Two singles have certainly whetted appetites, from the Start Me Up-jolt of Angry steamrollering over any possible objections, to the epic conclusion of righteous gospel monster Sweet Sound of Heaven reaching such heights of rapture that you might actually start to believe St Peter could welcome the old rogues through the pearly gates someday – all that bad behaviour and Sympathy for the Devil forgiven. Surely the fact that having the sainted Stevie Wonder on piano playing his multi-coloured socks off and Lady Gaga trilling away like a fallen angel is not even the best thing about it should confirm the Stones resurrection to even the most sceptical.

... Paul McCartney pops up on Bite My Head Off, with a fuzzed-up bass solo driving through the thrilling middle of the Stones’s punkiest offering since they took on New Wave with 1978’s Some Girls. “Come on Paul, let’s hear something!” Jagger yells, just to make sure everybody notices that their old rival is in the ranks. Original Stones bassist Bill Wyman returns to reunite with the ghost of Charlie Watts on Live By the Sword, a throwaway number redeemed by that down and dirty rhythm section. The Stones’ late lamented drummer also appears on Mess it Up (one of two songs dug out of the vaults and gamely spruced up by Andrew Watt), driven by a fantastic stop-start Richards chordal riff before slipping into the sleekest Stones’ disco beat since Miss You.

... It is lovely to hear those crisp Watts hi-hats in action but replacement drummer Steve Jordan (who has played on Richards solo projects since the early 90s) is on dynamic form throughout, absolutely driving through the wondrous Get Close To You, replete with a slashing Richards rhythm guitar riff and tight Jagger-Richards harmonies, with a sax solo from James King worthy of the late, great Bobby Keys. “Yeah!” Jagger can be heard purring in justified satisfaction at the end. The tinkling rhythm and blues piano comes courtesy of Elton John.

... Depending on You is another winner, drawing out that Gram Parsons style country melancholy the Stones have feasted on over the years, bulked up with Hammond organ (from the Heartbreakers’ Benmont Tench) and lush strings. “I’m too young for dying and too old to lose,” croons the octogenarian front man, making 80 sound like the new 40. Dreamy Skies drifts deeper into those country plains, with the jet set Jagger improbably fantasising about being left alone with “an old AM radio” that “just plays Hank Williams and some bad honky tonk.”

... Richards himself takes up the torch on Tell Me Straight, one of his lush, wise, deeply romantic ballads in which he wonders “is my future all in the past?” Not on this evidence, it isn’t. Driving Me Too Hard is another gem, with Richards and Woods’s guitars weaving gorgeously around Jagger’s sensitive vocal and closing out with big soul harmonies. The only misfire is arguably Whole Wide World, with an echoing 80s guitar and Jagger going full cockney to lament a lost past of “sex and gas” and, honestly, even that is better than almost anything the Stones actually put out in the 80s. “When you think the party’s over, it’s only just begun!” declares Jagger, and it sounds like a promise he is determined to keep.

... The frontman is on utterly fantastic form throughout, never letting a vowel go unstretched or a groove go unpunctuated. Sweet Sound of Heaven is very much Jagger’s triumph – even with Wonder and Gaga on stellar form and a fantastic band pulling out all the stops, it is the ageless singer who leads the storm on heaven’s gates. It’s a track that belongs in the pantheon of the Stone’s very greatest hits.

... It all ends in the sweetest possible fashion, with Jagger and Richards eyeball to eyeball, playing Muddy Waters Rolling Stone Blues on acoustic guitar and harmonica. This is the very song that gave the band their name, from an album the teenage Jagger was carrying under his arm when he bumped into old school friend Richards at Dartford Station on October 17, 1962, an encounter that set this particular stone a-rolling.


Hackney Diamonds inteview by BBC

The whole album is deliberately hand-crafted, recorded in real-time and non-computerised. "I like real," says Richards."We actually cut this record primarily for vinyl. It's by far the best sound, if you want to listen to a record properly. "Digital is toy town. It's synthesizers. And now you have AI, which is even even more superficial and artificial. Vinyl gives you what's real and I prefer to hear it that way."

... The last track is the perfect example - just Mick and Keith standing around a microphone, riffing on the Muddy Waters song that gave the band its name, Rolling Stone Blues. It could be the closing of a book, an epilogue to a 60-year career, but Richards is having none of it. "It's a fitting statement, but it's not a coda," he protests. "It's more a tip of the hat to Muddy Waters, Chicago and all the blues men we learned our stuff from."

Hackney Diamonds inteview by The Wall Street Journal Magazine

After the band’s last European tour ended in August 2022, Jagger sat down with Richards. He said the Stones should step it up a notch, even though no one was particularly excited about some of the material they’d recorded. Richards agreed. But Jagger also wanted deadline pressure. “What I want to do is write some songs, go into the studio and finish the record by Valentine’s Day,” (IORR comment: Feb 14, 2023) he told Richards. “Which was just a day I picked out of the hat—but everyone can remember it. And then we’ll go on tour with it, the way we used to.” Richards told Jagger it was never going to happen.

..... The album’s guest list is a reunion of high-powered musician friends, including Paul McCartney (contributing bass), Elton John (piano), Stevie Wonder (piano) and Lady Gaga (vocals), the last of whom happened to be working in the same studio during one session. Bill Wyman, the Stones’ 86-year-old original bassist, who stopped performing with the band in the 1990s, shows up too.

The deadline worked, Jagger says. The Stones recorded basic tracks in four weeks, eventually settling on 12 songs. Hackney Diamonds was, indeed, done a few weeks after Valentine’s Day. “They don’t sound like 80- year-old men on this record,” says Watt. A lengthy queue for vinyl-record manufacturing, however, meant the Stones couldn’t release the album immediately. “I met with the heads of the record company and said, ‘Well, when can you put it out?’ ” Jagger says. “And they said, ‘What about Christmas?’ I said, ‘F—k off. Christmas? No.’ ” The compromise: October. The band is talking about touring the U.S. and hopefully elsewhere next year.

..... I asked Jagger whether he thought this could be the Stones’ final original album. “No—because we have a whole album of songs we haven’t released!” Jagger says. “I have to finish them. But we got three-quarters of it done.” Jagger bristles at the notion that he’s all business while Richards handles the art (“I love just going to my music room and turning on a drum loop and making a song—that’s fun”). He has his own personal failings and acknowledges he has contributed to the band’s internal tensions. “I haven’t been perfect,” he says.

His desire to build his own artistic identity away from the Stones brought things to the brink with Richards in the 1980s. In general, he doesn’t like indulging in discussions about the Stones mythos. “I never look back,” he says. Yet he reluctantly agrees he has had a stabilizing influence on the Stones. Time and again, he’s kept things going. “I mean, it is kind of my role, you know? I think people expect me to do that,” he says. “I don’t think anyone’s saying, ‘Oh, I should be doing the “clarity” role.’ I don’t see Ronnie [Wood, the band’s longtime guitarist] saying to me, ‘Mick, I think you should retire from the clarity role and the vision role and I’ll do it.’ No one else wants to do it! I just got dumped with it. And I made a lot of mistakes, when I was very young. But you learn.”



  • I’ve heard Hackney Diamonds - It’s the best Rolling Stones album since 1978 - by Will Hodgkinson, The Times, UK - Sep. 6, 2023
  • Rolling Stones: Hackney Diamonds – These stone-cold crackers are the band’s best songs in decades - by Tony Clayton-Lea, The Irish Times, Ireland - Oct. 6, 2023
  • The Rolling Stones, Hackney Diamonds, review: a raucous and dirty modern rock classic - by Neil McCormick, The Telegraph, UK - Oct. 6, 2023
  • Keith Richards: Arthritis changed my guitar-playing - by Mark Savage, BBC, UK - Oct 10, 2023
  • How Mick Jagger Has Kept the Rolling Stones in Business for Six Decades - By Neil Shah, The Wall Street Journal Magazine, Sept. 26, 2023

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