"Elton was like, I just f**king played with the Rolling Stones": Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood talk Hackney Diamonds, Paul McCartney, Elton John and Lady Gaga

The Rolling Stones
(Image credit: Jeremy O'Donnell | Universal)

The Rolling Stones have spoken in-depth to Rolling Stone - naturally - about their forthcoming, much-anticipated 24th studio album, Hackney Diamonds.

Officially announced earlier this month, and due on October 20 via Universal, the band's first album of original material since 2005's A Bigger Bang was produced by Andrew Watt (Iggy Pop/Ozzy Osbourne/Miley Cyrus) and recorded in Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles, Metropolis Studios, London, Sanctuary Studios in the Bahamas ands New York's legendary Electric Lady Studios and The Hit Factory/Germano Studios. The 12-track album has been introduced by the single Angry, with a video starring US actress Sydney Sweeney. 

“The thing started with Mick saying, ‘It’s important now that we make a record',” Keith Richards tells Rolling Stone. I said, ‘If you think you have enough material that you want to sing, then I’m right there behind you.’ If the singer likes to sing what he’s singing, that’s 90 percent of the game.” 

Richards' fellow guitarist Ronnie Wood reveals that Andrew Watt was recommended to the band by Paul McCartney, and that Mick Jagger spoke to Watt about taking on production duties at the band's show in Hyde Park, London, last summer. Jagger says that Watt seemed “very enthusiastic.”

“You gotta understand, I’m a fucking fan,” Watt tells RS. “If I told them how many Rolling Stones concerts I’d seen, I don’t think they’d ever talk to me again. When we were in the studio, I’d tell them, ‘You let a freak from behind the barricade produce the album’.”

The album features a number of guest stars, including Steve Wonder and Lady Gaga on the song Sweet Sounds Of Heaven. Gaga's appearance on the album came about simply because she was recording in the same studio in Los Angeles, and asked if she could pop in.

“She just walked in, in front of me, and she just curled up in a ball in front of me on the floor,” Jagger recalls. “And then someone gave her a mic, and she started singing oohs and ahs.” 

“She was sitting there on the floor just digging it and singing along,” Wood says, “and Mick said, ‘Well, come on in. Stand up. Let’s make a thing of this then. Let’s do it properly'.”

The band also recruited Paul McCartney to play bass on Bite My Head Off, which is apparently the album's 'punk' song, and Elton John to play on Get Close, and Live by the Sword, one of two tracks (the other being Mess It Up) to feature drums recorded by late Stones drummer Charlie Watts.

“Everyone’s a fan of the Rolling Stones,” Andrew Watt tells Rolling Stone. “Just like Paul, Elton was like, ‘I just fucking played with the Rolling Stones'.”

Read the full interview here.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.