By Sarah Mills and Paul Sandle
LONDON (Reuters) -The Rolling Stones announced “Hackney Diamonds”, their first album of original music for 18 years and first since the death of drummer Charlie Watts, who played on two of the tracks, at the Hackney Empire on Wednesday.
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood – the surviving core of the 61-year-old band – appeared on stage at the London theatre to discuss the recording, before the premiere of the video of single “Angry”, which features actress Sydney Sweeney.
Frontman Jagger, 80, said the band were “pretty fired up” to record new music. “Every day was kind of like banging through two or three songs, so you keep the excitement,” he told Reuters after the launch, which was streamed live.
The album had a contemporary sound, with a mixture of rock, ballads, dance and a “country-ish kind of thing”, he said.
Richards, whose song-writing partnership with Jagger is one of the most enduring and successful in rock, said Watts’s 2021 death had spurred the band to record new music.
“I think because of Charlie passing, we felt that we are still going and that we should still retain an identity and still say ‘Hey, it’s only rock and roll. But you know here we are’,” the 79-year-old said.
Former Stones bass player Bill Wyman, new drummer Steve Jordan, ex-Beatle Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder were all involved in the album, the band told broadcasters.
Wood said McCartney, who played bass on one track, was “blown away” to record with the band, which rivalled the Beatles in its impact on rock music in the 1960s.
“You know, he was loving it,” he said.
Award-winning producer Andrew Watt helmed the 12-track album, which was recorded in locations including London, Los Angeles and Nassau.
The recording, whose title refers to broken glass after a robbery, will be released on Oct. 20.
The three Stones – all dressed in black – arrived in a London taxi decorated with the band’s tongue and lips logo. Jagger paid the fare in cash.
“I don’t want to be big-headed, but we wouldn’t have put this album out if we hadn’t really liked it,” he told U.S. talk show host Jimmy Fallon on stage.
Fans have been awaiting the announcement since a cryptic advertisement appeared in a local newspaper last month, with references to some of the Stones’ biggest tracks and the name of the new album.
(Reporting by Sarah Mills and Paul Sandle; additional reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; editing by Mark Heinrich and Nick Macfie)