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Rolling Stones release new album Hackney Diamonds

“Do we think about what other people would think about it? No, we just cross our fingers and hope,” Richards said.

“When you go in you’ve got to please yourselves, you know what I mean? It’s playing for yourselves first,” Jagger adds.

“Later on you might think, ‘oh, people might like this,’ or maybe they won’t like this.”

But Richards says after so long, “Usually if we like it, it travels.”

Ronnie Wood, meanwhile, is confident Stones fans will love Lady Gaga’s vocals on one of the tracks.

Richards says producing records remains the holy grail of musicianship. “It is where a band can come together, playing live is the other holy grail,” he said.

“The record is where guys can get together and pass around ideas without any interference, and when it works it’s great.”

Still rolling: The Stones in concert in Berlin in August 2022.

Still rolling: The Stones in concert in Berlin in August 2022.Credit: AP

But there was a shadow overhanging this gathering – the absence of drummer Charlie Watts, who died in 2021.

“Ever since Charlie’s gone it’s different, of course, he’s number four, he’s missing, he’s not there,” Richards said.

“Of course he’s missed, incredibly, but thanks to Charlie, we have Steve Jordan, who was Charlie’s recommendation for if anything should happen to him.”

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Jordan first stepped in for Watts in 2021. “He was a friend, so it was a kind of natural progression, it would have been a lot harder without Charlie’s blessing,” Richards said.

Even so, two tracks recorded with Watts in 2019 appear on the album, meaning the original Stones live on.

The band gathered before last Christmas and quickly cut the tracks in Los Angeles in time for their self-imposed deadline of Valentine’s Day.

Wednesday’s promotional chat with Fallon on YouTube was designed to reach to all corners of the world – “It’s already tomorrow in Australia,” exclaimed Jagger at one point. It’s a modern take on how they hustled for sales when making their debut.

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“Keith and I were in a pub in Denmark Street [in Soho] and we had the album and there were two journalists – one from the NME and one from the Melody Maker – and we bought them a pint of beer and we said ‘here’s our album, have a listen.’” Jagger said, looking back.

“And then we went out. That was it. There were no photos, nothing. The reviews were mixed but it sold well.”

The audience of journalists, dubbed “fans” by Fallon to his YouTube audience, laughed at the cheeky entendre lobbed by Woods, who defended his bass playing with other bands in between Stones’ gigs as the need to keep match-fit.

“You’ve got to keep everything moving when you get to our age,” he quipped.

With album 24, the Stones are in no mood to stop rolling.

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