In a new interview with The New York TimesKeith Richards, Mick Jagger, and Ronnie Wood divulge some details about Hackney Diamonds, the forthcoming first album of original music by The Rolling Stones since 2005. Sprinkled in among well-manicured quotes from Mike and Keef about their long, complicated relationship as bandmates and co-writers and the “urgent” collaborative process they employed for the Andrew Watt-produced album’s creation, the feature name-drops several of the record’s high-profile guests including Paul McCartneyElton John, Stevie WonderLady Gaga, and original Stones bassist Bill Wyman.

Per the Times piece, “The punky ‘Bite My Head Off'” features “Paul McCartney playing a jabbing, distorted bass.” McCartney’s involvement in the then-unannounced Stones record became public knowledge in early 2023, when Variety reported that the Beatle had logged a recording session with the Stones and Andrew Watt in L.A.

While the majority of the record, due out on October 20th, features new Rolling Stones drummer Steve Jordan, the late Charlie Watts recorded his parts for two tracks with previous producer Don Was prior to Charlie’s passing in 2021. As The New York Times notes, “One of them, ‘Live by the Sword,’ also includes the Stones’ retired original bassist, Bill Wyman, and some two-fisted honky-tonk piano from Elton John.” The album’s penultimate song, “Sweet Sounds of Heaven”, per the Times, is a “gospel-charged song about music as salvation, stoked by Stevie Wonder on keyboards” and featuring Lady Gaga and Mick Jagger sharing lead vocals.

Jagger and Richards, the band’s primary songwriters, have had a tense relationship at times during their decades-long run as one of the world’s most popular acts. On Hackney Diamonds, they attempted to move toward reconnection, finishing and fine-tuning songs together in person more than on any project in recent memory. The two even completed one of the album’s tracks, “Driving Me Too Hard”, “in a room together, as they had in their early years.”

That proximity, Richards explained, allowed them to experiment more freely during the recording process. “You know, it goes like this — but maybe it could go like that,” Richards said. “Without improvisation, it wouldn’t be anything in the first place. I mean, there are no rules to rock ’n’ roll. That’s the reason it’s there.”

Related: The Rolling Stones Preview First New Album In 18 Years, ‘Hackney Diamonds’, During Livestream Event [Videos]

Jagger, 80, Richards, 79, and Wood, 76 also spoke about how setting a strict deadline for themselves helped them push the LP across the finish line. “I said to Keith, ‘If we don’t have a deadline, we’re never going to finish this record,’” Jagger said. “So I said, ‘The deadline is Valentine’s Day 2023. And then we’re going to go out and tour it.’ That’s what we used to have to do. You know, you’ve got to finish ‘Exile on Main Street’ because you’ve got a tour booked.” After a series of recording sessions in “Paris, New York City, the Bahamas, London and, primarily, Los Angeles, a convenient magnet for the album’s guest stars,” the album was tracked by February 14th.

“With Charlie leaving us, I think we needed to make a new mark with Steve,” Richards said of folding Jordan into the new album. “To reset the band was important.” Added Jagger, “I don’t think it’s the last Rolling Stones album. We’ve got almost three-quarters through the next one.”

Read The New York Times‘ full interview with The Rolling Stones on Hackney Diamonds here.

Below, watch the music video for the album’s lead single, “Angry”, and view the full Hackney Diamonds tracklist.

The Rolling Stones – “Angry” (Official Video)

The Rolling Stones – Hackney Diamonds – Tracklist

All songs written by Jagger–Richards, except where noted.

  1. Angry” (Jagger–Richards, Andrew Watt) – 3:46
  2. “Get Close” (Jagger–Richards, Watt)
  3. “Depending On You” (Jagger–Richards, Watt)
  4. “Bite My Head Off”
  5. “Whole Wide World”
  6. “Dreamy Skies”
  7. “Mess It Up”
  8. “Live by the Sword”
  9. “Driving Me Too Hard”
  10. “Tell Me Straight”
  11. “Sweet Sounds of Heaven”
  12. “Rolling Stone Blues” (Muddy Waters)