Rolling Stones kick off album launch in New York with guest Lady Gaga

The members of the Rolling Stones Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood perform during a private record release party of their new album "Hackney Diamonds" in New York City, U.S., October 19, 2023. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
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NEW YORK, – It was a gas, gas, gas in a club on Manhattan’s West Side late on Thursday, where the Rolling Stones held a private launch party for their first new album in 18 years.

The Stones, in their seventh decade as a rock ‘n roll band, tore through a half-dozen songs for a crowd of hundreds at the Racket NYC club in support of the album “Hackney Diamonds,” which has garnered the band some of its best reviews in decades.

Lead singer Mick Jagger, 80, joked that doing another New York launch was part of the motivation for getting back into the studio for the record, whose title is a reference to British slang for broken glass.

“We were missing the launches so much we had to go back and make another album,” he told the energized crowd in the middle of a set that alternated new numbers and well-known tracks including “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Tumblin’ Dice.”

The band has kicked off previous albums in New York with great fanfare, once rolling down Fifth Avenue on a flatbed truck and on another occasion riding on a caboose into Grand Central Terminal.

The Stones closed with an appearance by Lady Gaga for “Sweet Sounds of Heaven,” a slow, blues-infused number off the new album that recalls the band’s 70s classic “Moonlight Mile.” Gaga and Jagger mimicked each other’s dance movies as they alternated vocals, Gaga in a shimmering red-and-black one-sleeved jumpsuit, Jagger wearing a customarily tight black shirt.

“Hackney Diamonds” is the band’s first studio album of original material since 2005’s “A Bigger Bang” and first recording since longtime drummer Charlie Watts died in 2021. The surviving core consists of Jagger and guitarists Keith Richards, 79, and Ron Wood, 76.

The latter has been a member of the band for nearly 50 years despite joining in 1975, 13 years after the Stones were formed.

Besides Gaga, the new album features guests Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney and Elton John, and a return appearance by longtime bassist Bill Wyman, who left the band in the 1990s, for the song “Live by the Sword,” which also features drumming by Watts before he died.

The album closes with the song “Rolling Stone Blues,” a Muddy Waters song that was the origin of the band’s name. – Reuters