The legendary rock group’s first studio album since 2005 was launched at the historic 122-year-old Hackney Empire in London’s East End. The group’s three principals, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, were interviewed live by “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon. The album’s first single “Angry,” complete with a music video featuring Sydney Sweeney riding across Hollywood in a red convertible, was unveiled at the event.
Sweeney and her mother were surprise guests at the event. “This is the biggest thing ever,” Sweeney said at the launch.
The Stones spoke about how much they missed late drummer Charlie Watts and revealed that his playing can be heard on two of the album’s 12 tracks. The rest of the tracks feature veteran drummer Steve Jordan, handpicked by Watts to replace him.
The group brought the house down with their quips when Fallon ran through tracks with them. “You’ve got to keep your fingers moving — at our age, you have to keep everything moving,” Wood said.
Fallon also joined the Stones in an impromptu, a cappella rendition of “Off the Hook.”
The Stones explained that “Hackney Diamonds” is a reference to the nature of the Hackney area of London. “It’s like when you get your windscreen broken on Saturday night in Hackney where car windows get smashed,” Jagger said. The alternate titles for the album were “Hit and Run” and “Smash and Grab,” Richards said.
The launch event was hosted by and streamed via YouTube. “Hackney Diamonds” officially comes out Oct. 20 via Geffen Records in the U.S.
The group has been recording new material for many years, but they “took a break” from it to record an album of blues standards released in 2016, titled “Blue & Lonesome.”
“Hackney Diamonds” will be the group’s first release since the 2021 death of Charlie Watts, the founding drummer who played at each of the band’s thousands of concerts except one, and on nearly every recorded song since the Rolling Stones formed in 1962. The group toured last fall with drummer Jordan.
Even as its members age, the Stones have toured regularly throughout the 21st century, with Jagger retaining nearly his full measure of vocal and physical energy despite turning 80 on July 26. After a pandemic-induced delay, the group resumed its “No Filter” North American tour in the fall of 2021, shortly after Watts’ death, and underwent a multi-date “Sixty” tour of Europe last year, observing the band’s 60th anniversary.