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Ronnie Wood Talks New Rolling Stones Album, Paul McCartney Collaboration and Hints at Tour

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The Rolling Stones, we’ve learned over the years, is a juggernaut that simply can’t be stopped.

On Friday (Oct. 20), the rock ‘n’ roll legends drop Hackney Diamonds, the British band’s first new studio album or original material in 18 years.

Collaborators include Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, former bass player Bill Wyman, and, yes, Paul McCartney, creating a “supergroup” — a “dream team” — that unites arguably the two greatest bands of all time, the Beatles and the Stones.

Ahead of release, guitarist Ronnie Wood stopped by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Kimmel on Thursday (Oct. 19) to give the low-down on the new record, the followup to 2005’s A Bigger Bang.

Wood’s verdict? It rocks.

“I can say it’s about time,” he tells Fallon. “It feels so exciting. Because I’m so excited about every track on it, every track has something to say and a different direction.”

That excitement should spill over to Stones fans, even more so with confirmation that the Stones are preparing for live performances.

“We’ve been doing a little rehearsing to see how these songs translate live,” Wood explains. “And they’re really cooking.”

Hackney Diamonds includes contributions from the band’s late drummer, Charlie Watts, who died August 2021, aged 80, a blow that had many fans wondering if we’d ever see or hear again from the Stones. Wood paused to remember his former bandmate. “Some things are beyond our control,” he recounts. “Losing Charlie was one of those things.”

As previously reported, Gaga and Wonder perform on the song “Sweet Sound of Heaven,” while Elton contributes piano to “Live By the Sword.” The late Watts contributes to two of the songs.

It’s McCartney’s bass work on “Bite My Head Off” that has everyone talking, including the two-time Rock And Roll Hall of Famer.

The song is a ball of energy, reckons Wood, and Paul was “so blown away. He was a bit like a school boy, a kid in a toy shop. He loved it. He said, ‘my dreams, a Beatle gets to play on a Rolling Stones album.’”

Hackney Diamonds is the Rolling Stones’ 24th studio album. “We didn’t want to make just any record and put it out,” frontman Mick Jagger said during a live stream in London last month to present the record. “Before we went in [the studio], we said we had to make a record that we really love ourselves. We must say that we are quite pleased with it. I’m not saying we are big-headed about it, but we’re pleased with it and we hope that you all like it.”

Watch Ronnie Wood’s late night interview below.

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