The Rolling Stones. Photo: File/CD.

The Rolling Stones today released "Sweet Sounds of Heaven," the second preview of their highly anticipated new album Hackney Diamonds. The album, which will be released on October 20, will be the first with original material since A Bigger Bang (2005), and also in which drummer and founder Charlie Watts will not be on the entire album.

After a first preview titled "Angry" and an announcement that toured the world with the news of their return to the album, the Rolling Stones are dispatched with a new song that brings the gospel influence and lineage of songs like "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Shine a Light". "Sweet Sounds of Heaven" features a powerful vocal performance by Lady Gaga and with Stevie Wonder behind a Fender Rhodes, a Moog synthesizer and a piano.

The official story goes that Mick Jagger was at his home in London one sunny afternoon, the leaves creaking as the wind blew through the trees and he began to play a chord pattern on the piano that ended up being the soul of this piece. The song was recorded at Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles, Metropolis Studios in London and Sanctuary Studios in Nassau, Bahamas, and the final composition is shared with his eternal partner, Keith Richards.

It was in those sessions in Los Angeles that the legendary group invited Stevie Wonder and Lady Gaga, both with backgrounds in the stone world: she joined the group on stage on the "50 & Counting" tour in 2012 to perform the version of "Gimme Shelter" released later on the GRRR Live Album. Wonder, meanwhile, toured with the Stones on their "American Tour" in 1972, and regularly climbed on the medley of "Satisfaction" and "Uptight".

The new Rolling Stones song brings gospel influence. Photo: AFP

The arrival of Hackney Diamonds was announced in early September by Jagger, Richards and Ron Wood at a special press event in the historic Hackney Empire, East London's pioneering art epicentre for nearly 125 years. The launch was hosted by U.S. television star Jimmy Fallon, host of the hit television show The Tonight Show, and was streamed worldwide via YouTube.

Hackney Diamonds marks the Stones' first collaboration with New York producer and musician Andrew Watt, who was named Producer of the Year in 2021 at the Grammy Awards and worked alongside the likes of Pearl Jam, Iggy Pop and Elton John. The album consists of 12 songs, which will be unveiled gradually. The cover art for Hackney Diamonds is the work of digital animator Paulina Almira.

While no tour has been announced, guitarist Keith Richards said he's "dying to get into the new songs on stage." The last time the Stones played was in Berlin last year, when they had to finish touring with drummer Steve Jordan replacing the late Charlie Watts.

And if now the band continues without its founding drummer, that does not seem to be more than the beginning, because Mick Jagger does not rule out that the Stones continue in activity in a virtual way once the musicians leave the stage or directly die. "Now you can have a posthumous business, right? A posthumous tour can be made. Technology has come a long way since ABBA, which I was supposed to go to, but I missed it," the legendary vocalist said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

(Taken from Page 12)