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The Rolling Stones|Hackney Diamonds

Hackney Diamonds

The Rolling Stones

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It's a running joke that every album released by the Rolling Stones is the band's "best since X," where X represents a random release from their extensive back catalog. Unsurprisingly, Hackney Diamonds has already received similar plaudits and comparisons. But the Stones' first full-length of original songs since 2005's A Bigger Bang can't really be compared to anything they've done before—namely because it's the first Stones album recorded (for the most part) without drummer Charlie Watts, who died in 2021.

Watts does add his trademark crisp, jazzy swing to a pair of highlights: the strutting "Mess It Up" and swaggering boogie-rocker "Live by the Sword." (On the latter, former bassist Bill Wyman also contributes a grimy low end and Elton John adds freewheeling piano.) Elsewhere on Hackney Diamonds, Watts' hand-picked drumming replacement Steve Jordan anchors the rhythm section with his looser approach—a perfect match for big-sky rockers like the saxophone-augmented, funk-tinted "Get Close."

But even with the lineup change, Hackney Diamonds feels like classic Stones—no asterisk needed. The album brims with familiar signifiers: fiery guitar interplay between Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood; an abundance of Jagger-Richards songwriting credits; and Jagger's inimitable vocals, which veer between spitfire sleaze and tender balladeer. Musically, Hackney Diamonds also spans the entire Stones continuum. "Dreamy Skies" is the kind of laid-back country rocker the band excel at writing; the string-swept "Depending on You" occupies a more introspective space; and "Driving Me Too Hard" is 1970s-era honky-tonking. On "Tell Me Straight," Richards even takes a turn on lead vocals.

So what's the secret to Hackney Diamonds? Avowed Stones superfan Andrew Watt produced the album, which was an inspired choice: Watt pushes the Stones to play to their strengths and not rely on cliches. Hackney Diamonds' guests are also a welcome presence. Paul McCartney contributes bass to the barnstorming "Bite My Head Off," while the torchy power ballad centerpiece "Sweet Sounds of Heaven" includes keyboards and piano from Stevie Wonder and towering vocals from Lady Gaga.

Fittingly, Hackney Diamonds ends with a song that's long featured into the Stones' mythology: a cover of Muddy Waters' "Rollin' Stone" (here called "Rolling Stone Blues"). The Stones' performance is raw and unfiltered, with shuffling harmonica and unpolished Jagger vocals; it sounds more like a low-key jam session than a high-gloss studio work. "Rolling Stone Blues" also gets to the heart of why Hackney Diamonds works so well: On the album, the Stones aren't trying to repeat themselves or recapture any past glories—but they are remembering their roots, and channeling the passion, ambition and musical chemistry that initially propelled them to superstardom. © Annie Zaleski/Qobuz

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Hackney Diamonds

The Rolling Stones

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1
Angry
00:03:46

Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - STEVE JORDAN, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - KEITH RICHARDS, Guitar, Bass, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - MICK JAGGER, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Paul Lamalfa, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Rolling Stones, MainArtist - Ronnie Wood, Guitar, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Kelsey Porter, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Colton, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Clifford, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Andrew Watt, Producer, Percussion, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Joe Dougherty, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tommy Turner, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Marco Sonzini, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bryce Bordone, Additional Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Doughtery, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Promotone B.V.

2
Get Close
00:04:10

Karlos Edwards, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Ali Tamposi, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - STEVE JORDAN, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Elton John, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - KEITH RICHARDS, Guitar, Bass, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - MICK JAGGER, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - James King, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Ron Blake, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Lamalfa, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Rolling Stones, MainArtist - Ronnie Wood, Guitar, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Kelsey Porter, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Colton, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Clifford, Wurlitzer Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Andrew Watt, Producer, Bass, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Joe Dougherty, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tommy Turner, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Marco Sonzini, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Barnabas Poffley, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bryce Bordone, Additional Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rich Evatt, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Brice, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Promotone B.V.

3
Depending On You
00:04:03

David Campbell, Conductor, String Arranger, Strings Conductor, AssociatedPerformer - Benmont Tench, Hammond Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Charlie Bisharat, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - STEVE JORDAN, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - KEITH RICHARDS, Guitar, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - MICK JAGGER, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Paul Lamalfa, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sara Parkins, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - The Rolling Stones, MainArtist - Alyssa Park, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Tereza Stanislav, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Philip Vaiman, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Songa Lee, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Michele Richards, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Paula Hochhalter, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Ronnie Wood, Guitar, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Kelsey Porter, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Colton, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Clifford, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Andrew Watt, Producer, String Arranger, Guitar, Percussion, Bass, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Luke Maurer, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Jennifer Takamatsu, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Joe Dougherty, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Lea, Viola, AssociatedPerformer - Jacob Braun, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Tommy Turner, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Marco Sonzini, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bryce Bordone, Additional Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Promotone B.V.

4
Bite My Head Off
00:03:30

Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - STEVE JORDAN, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Mccartney, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - KEITH RICHARDS, Guitar, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - MICK JAGGER, Guitar, Vocals, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Paul Lamalfa, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Rolling Stones, MainArtist - Ronnie Wood, Guitar, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Kelsey Porter, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Colton, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Clifford, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Andrew Watt, Producer - Joe Dougherty, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tommy Turner, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Marco Sonzini, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Barnabas Poffley, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bryce Bordone, Additional Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rich Evatt, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Brice, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Promotone B.V.

5
Whole Wide World
00:03:58

Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - STEVE JORDAN, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Lars Fox, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - KEITH RICHARDS, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - MICK JAGGER, Guitar, Vocals, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Paul Lamalfa, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Rolling Stones, MainArtist - Ronnie Wood, Guitar, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Kelsey Porter, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Colton, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Clifford, Keyboards, Piano, Rhodes , AssociatedPerformer - Andrew Watt, Producer, Percussion, Bass, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Joe Dougherty, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tommy Turner, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Marco Sonzini, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Barnabas Poffley, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bryce Bordone, Additional Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rich Evatt, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Brice, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Promotone B.V.

6
Dreamy Skies
00:04:38

Benmont Tench, Hammond Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - STEVE JORDAN, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Lars Fox, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - KEITH RICHARDS, Guitar, Bass, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - MICK JAGGER, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Harmonica, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - DAVE O'DONNELL, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Paul Lamalfa, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Rolling Stones, MainArtist - Ronnie Wood, Guitar, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Kelsey Porter, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Colton, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - John Rooney, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Dani Perez, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Clifford, Piano, Rhodes , AssociatedPerformer - Andrew Watt, Producer - Joe Dougherty, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tommy Turner, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Marco Sonzini, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Lee Foster, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bryce Bordone, Additional Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Carl Bespolka, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Promotone B.V.

7
Mess It Up
00:04:03

Karlos Edwards, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Lars Fox, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - KEITH RICHARDS, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - MICK JAGGER, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Paul Lamalfa, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Rolling Stones, MainArtist - Ronnie Wood, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Kelsey Porter, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Colton, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Clifford, Keyboards, Piano, Wurlitzer Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Charlie Watts, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Andrew Watt, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Joe Dougherty, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tommy Turner, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Marco Sonzini, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Barnabas Poffley, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bryce Bordone, Additional Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rich Evatt, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Brice, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Promotone B.V.

8
Live By The Sword
00:03:59

Don Was, Producer, Additional Producer - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Elton John, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Lars Fox, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - KEITH RICHARDS, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - MICK JAGGER, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Krish Sharma, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Paul Lamalfa, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Rolling Stones, MainArtist - Ronnie Wood, Guitar, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bill Wyman, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Kelsey Porter, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Colton, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Clifford, Vocal Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Watts, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Andrew Watt, Producer - Joe Dougherty, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - John Costello, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tommy Turner, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Marco Sonzini, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Barnabas Poffley, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bryce Bordone, Additional Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rich Evatt, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Brice, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Cheno Wang, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Promotone B.V.

9
Driving Me Too Hard
00:03:16

Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - STEVE JORDAN, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Lars Fox, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - KEITH RICHARDS, Guitar, Piano, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - MICK JAGGER, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Paul Lamalfa, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Rolling Stones, MainArtist - Ronnie Wood, Guitar, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Kelsey Porter, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Colton, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Clifford, Organ, Piano, Rhodes , AssociatedPerformer - Andrew Watt, Producer, Percussion, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Joe Dougherty, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tommy Turner, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Marco Sonzini, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Barnabas Poffley, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bryce Bordone, Additional Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rich Evatt, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Brice, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Promotone B.V.

10
Tell Me Straight
00:02:56

Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - STEVE JORDAN, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Lars Fox, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - KEITH RICHARDS, Guitar, Bass, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - MICK JAGGER, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Paul Lamalfa, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Rolling Stones, MainArtist - Ronnie Wood, Guitar, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Kelsey Porter, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Colton, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Andrew Watt, Producer - Joe Dougherty, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tommy Turner, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Marco Sonzini, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Barnabas Poffley, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bryce Bordone, Additional Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rich Evatt, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Brice, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Promotone B.V.

11
Sweet Sounds Of Heaven
00:07:22

Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - STEVE JORDAN, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Lady Gaga, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Lars Fox, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stevie Wonder, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - KEITH RICHARDS, Guitar, Bass, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - MICK JAGGER, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Paul Lamalfa, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Rolling Stones, MainArtist - Ronnie Wood, Guitar, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Kelsey Porter, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Colton, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Andrew Watt, Producer - Joe Dougherty, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tommy Turner, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Marco Sonzini, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Barnabas Poffley, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bryce Bordone, Additional Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rich Evatt, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Brice, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Doughtery, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Promotone B.V.

12
Rolling Stone Blues
00:02:41

STEVE JORDAN, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - KEITH RICHARDS, Guitar, Bass, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - MICK JAGGER, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Harmonica, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Muddy Waters, ComposerLyricist - Paul Lamalfa, Recording Engineer, Co-Mixer, StudioPersonnel - The Rolling Stones, MainArtist - Ronnie Wood, Guitar, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Kelsey Porter, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Colton, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Andrew Watt, Producer, Co-Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Tommy Turner, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Marco Sonzini, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Joe Doughtery, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2023 Promotone B.V.

Album review

It's a running joke that every album released by the Rolling Stones is the band's "best since X," where X represents a random release from their extensive back catalog. Unsurprisingly, Hackney Diamonds has already received similar plaudits and comparisons. But the Stones' first full-length of original songs since 2005's A Bigger Bang can't really be compared to anything they've done before—namely because it's the first Stones album recorded (for the most part) without drummer Charlie Watts, who died in 2021.

Watts does add his trademark crisp, jazzy swing to a pair of highlights: the strutting "Mess It Up" and swaggering boogie-rocker "Live by the Sword." (On the latter, former bassist Bill Wyman also contributes a grimy low end and Elton John adds freewheeling piano.) Elsewhere on Hackney Diamonds, Watts' hand-picked drumming replacement Steve Jordan anchors the rhythm section with his looser approach—a perfect match for big-sky rockers like the saxophone-augmented, funk-tinted "Get Close."

But even with the lineup change, Hackney Diamonds feels like classic Stones—no asterisk needed. The album brims with familiar signifiers: fiery guitar interplay between Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood; an abundance of Jagger-Richards songwriting credits; and Jagger's inimitable vocals, which veer between spitfire sleaze and tender balladeer. Musically, Hackney Diamonds also spans the entire Stones continuum. "Dreamy Skies" is the kind of laid-back country rocker the band excel at writing; the string-swept "Depending on You" occupies a more introspective space; and "Driving Me Too Hard" is 1970s-era honky-tonking. On "Tell Me Straight," Richards even takes a turn on lead vocals.

So what's the secret to Hackney Diamonds? Avowed Stones superfan Andrew Watt produced the album, which was an inspired choice: Watt pushes the Stones to play to their strengths and not rely on cliches. Hackney Diamonds' guests are also a welcome presence. Paul McCartney contributes bass to the barnstorming "Bite My Head Off," while the torchy power ballad centerpiece "Sweet Sounds of Heaven" includes keyboards and piano from Stevie Wonder and towering vocals from Lady Gaga.

Fittingly, Hackney Diamonds ends with a song that's long featured into the Stones' mythology: a cover of Muddy Waters' "Rollin' Stone" (here called "Rolling Stone Blues"). The Stones' performance is raw and unfiltered, with shuffling harmonica and unpolished Jagger vocals; it sounds more like a low-key jam session than a high-gloss studio work. "Rolling Stone Blues" also gets to the heart of why Hackney Diamonds works so well: On the album, the Stones aren't trying to repeat themselves or recapture any past glories—but they are remembering their roots, and channeling the passion, ambition and musical chemistry that initially propelled them to superstardom. © Annie Zaleski/Qobuz

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