Keith Richards says Charlie Watts’ death ‘jolted’ The Rolling Stones into making new album Hackney Diamonds

Keith Richards has said that The Rolling Stones were prompted to make their new album, ‘Hackney Diamonds’, partly because of drummer Charlie Watts‘ death.

Watts passed away from throat cancer in August 2021, at the age of 80. However, he still plays on two songs from the record, ‘Mess It Up’ and ‘Live By The Sword’.

Richards has pinpointed that in a new interview as one of the things that compelled him and Mick Jagger to get back into the studio. He also mentioned that another reason for them doing so was how “seamlessly” replacement drummer Steve Jordan slotted in during their live shows.


“It [Watts’ death] jolted us into thinking we’ve got to make a record,” Richards told The Sun [via MusicNews].

“Then last year, we were on the road in Europe and playing Hyde Park, the band’s really hot with Steve Jordan working out seamlessly,” he said.

“Mick agreed with me about the record. We said, ‘Let’s get this thing in the studio. Let’s make this a project — go from A to B and actually finish it.’ There were some amazing things in the can, but we never felt like it was an album. Whereas, this time we did it all in one block and hit it — I’m still recovering!”

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It was from those previous sessions that the Stones had recorded the two songs from ‘Hackney Diamonds’ that feature Watts. “It was important for us to put out something we had cut with Charlie,” Richards added.

The album also features a single featuring Lady Gaga called ‘Sweet Sounds Of Heaven, which got its live debut at a surprise intimate show in New York on the eve of the album’s release. The band brought Gaga out to perform the track.


The Stones also played their 2023 track ‘Angry’ for the first time, as well as ‘Whole Wide World’ and ‘Bite My Head Off’ from their long-awaited new record.