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Sir Mick Jagger on encouraging bandmates to produce Rolling Stones’ new album

Sir Mick Jagger has revealed he had to encourage his bandmates and label to record the new Rolling Stones album as no one had any “urgency” to make new music.

Their new studio album Hackney Diamonds, which will be released on October 20, will be their first collection of original songs for 18 years, and the first since the death of drummer Charlie Watts in August 2021.

The 12-track offering will feature appearances from original member Bill Wyman, singing superstar Lady Gaga and their late drummer Watts.

Rolling Stones Hackney Diamonds
Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Sir Mick Jagger at The Rolling Stones’ Hackney Diamonds launch event at the Hackney Empire in London (Ian West/PA)

In an interview with The Times Saturday magazine, Sir Mick said: “I was actually really worried because nobody had any f****** urgency to do a record.

“Everyone seemed happy to do a tour every few years and nothing for the rest of the time.

“In the old days, the tour used to be a promotion for the record and the record was the thing.

“These days you make loads of money on the road and you don’t make much money on the record, which means you’re still selling tickets even when you don’t have a new album to promote.

“And you end up thinking ‘They just want to hear Paint It, Black. They don’t want to hear anything else. They’re quite happy. Who cares about our new record?'”

The singer-songwriter gave his fellow bandmates – Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Steve Jordan, the band’s drummer since Watts died, a deadline that they would go into the studio in autumn 2022 and a year on he wanted the album to be released, according to the magazine.

Sir Mick said guitarist Richards felt the timeline was “a bit optimistic” but became “very supportive” of the idea and they recorded the album in Los Angeles in three weeks.

Discussing how Lady Gaga joined for the track Sweet Sounds Of Heaven, the singer recalled singing in the studio when he noticed a woman sitting at his feet, who turned out to be the pop star.

“Turns out she was recording next door. I gave her some headphones, she did a few oohs and aahs, and I said, ‘Why don’t you sing the words?’ It came together very quickly”, he added.

Stevie Wonder also plays the keyboard on the song while Sir Elton John takes over on the piano for the tracks Get Close and Piano.

Sir Paul McCartney also plays bass guitar on a track titled Bite My Head Off, a collaboration that came about while their producer Andrew Watt was working with the former Beatle.

Sir Mick admitted: “I was kind of surprised Paul wanted to play on that track actually.”

“I wrote so many punk songs for the Stones and I could never get away with them, but Paul is a very open-minded person – musically speaking,” he added.

The band’s last album of new material was 2005’s A Bigger Bang while their last studio album, released in 2016, was Blue & Lonesome and comprised blues covers.

Reflecting on the band’s original influence of American blues, he said: “We didn’t set out to do anything else. We were very preachy about bringing blues to a broader audience and all that b*******, because when you’re young, that’s what you want to do.

“We certainly didn’t have any political message, but it was the beginning of the awareness of reflecting society in songs, wasn’t it?

“You had Bob Dylan popularising it with our generation, I suppose.”