Rolling Stones Fashion Multi-Faceted "Hackney Diamonds" with Gaga, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney
A who's-who of rock legends guest on the Stones' first album of original material since 2005, with a production team (average age, 52) that covers the gamut for new and...uh, old fans.
The first single from the album, “Angry” (released in September), with the official video featuring actress, Sydney Sweeney:
Behind-the-scenes video for shooting the first single:
Their 24th Studio Album
With the youngest member checking in at 76 years old (guitarist Ronnie Wood), The Rolling Stones have already released several songs of what is slated to be an October 20 release for Hackney Diamonds, their first studio long-player in 18 years (when that youngest member was a fuzzy-cheeked lad of 58), and their 24th overall.
The Stones’ late drummer Charlie Watts, who died in August 2021, performs posthumously on two album tracks, and former Stone bassist, Bill Wyman, also plays on a song called “Live by the Sword.”
October 20, perhaps coincidentally, will also be the 33rd birthday of New York native Andrew Watt, co-producer of the album with longtime veteran of the studio, Don Was, a native of Detroit who just turned 71.
🎵The Time is Right for Dancing in the Streams🎶
This particular production team seems to be an inspired collab by The Stones and Polydor Records, who are readying various colored-vinyl iterations of what otherwise will be fairly colorless online song-streams.
Watt, an alumnus of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at the Tisch School of the Arts and the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development (at NYU), won the 2021 Grammy for Producer of the Year.
He took home his first Grammy that year for his work on Ozzy Osbourne’s Ordinary Man, Miley Cyrus’ Plastic Hearts, both of which he executive-produced, Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia, which took home the Grammy that year for Best Pop Vocal Album, and Post Malone’s Hollywood’s Bleeding, which was nominated for Album of the Year.
In a December 2020 GuitarWorld article, Watt recalled: “Ozzy always says things like that to me - how he’s made a friend for life and he’s eternally grateful. And I’m like, ‘Why are you f-ing saying this to me? You’re Ozzy!’ I just feel so blessed and so lucky to have been able to make this record with him. I don’t even feel like I made it. I feel like I left my body. It’s crazy.”
Imagine being in your early 30s, and traipsing in such high rock’n’roll cotton. And, by all accounts, he really is that modest.
BionicBuzz and this glowing take on Watt: “His genre-transcending talent as a producer entices artists of all kinds, but it is his laid-back charm that keeps them coming back – as friends, and as collaborators. His versatility as a songwriter, producer and all-around musician have made him a bona-fide hit-maker reminiscent of legends way beyond his time.”
Watt has also produced albums for Justin Bieber, Pearl Jam, Iggy Pop and many others. He’s also the guitarist of the Earthlings, the backing band for Eddie Vedder’s solo performances.
It sounds like Watt has the experience, the hardware and the gravitas to have handled the project alone. But, with The Rolling frickin’ Stones, Polydor and the gang wanted to make sure, and who could blame them? Enter Don Was:
And, speaking of accolades and hardware, Was produced the Stones’ 2016 album, Blue and Lonesome, a covers album which won the Grammy for Best Traditional Blues album.
Records that Was has produced over the decades have sold close to 100 million albums for a wide array of artists including Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, John Mayer, Wayne Shorter, Kris Kristofferson, Iggy Pop, The B-52s, Brian Wilson, Elton John, Garth Brooks and Ryan Adams.
Primarily known as a bassist, he has toured as a member of Bob Weir and The Wolf Bros since 2018.
In other words, what a team they assembled to helm the sound board! Don Was brings solid rock credibility to the proceedings, lest listeners think they’re leaving rock’s Last Band Standing in the hands of a mere babe whose grandparents were in junior high when The Glimmer Twins jammed with Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated.
Andrew Watt, however, brings the “youth vote” over, and the “now sound” sensibilities that’ll keep the young’uns from whining, “LOL! Hey! What are those old guys doing hanging around with Gaga? OMG!”
Sweet Sounds of Gaga and Stevie
Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder join the Stones on a slow gospel-tinged burner. Old friends with the group, she also guested on “Gimme Shelter” with The Stones at The Prudential Center in New Jersey in December 2012.
This Ain’t “Yesterday”! “Bite My Head Off” feat. Macca!
Mick, Ronnie, and Keith kicking off the album release in September 2023 on a live stream with Jimmy Fallon. Lots of convo, with behind-the-scenes info on the making of the album:
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