Charlie Watts' passing prompted The Rolling Stones to make a new record.

The 'Start Me Up' hitmakers have today (20.10.23) released their first studio album of original music in 18 years, in the form of 'Hackney Diamonds', which features the late sticksman on the tracks 'Mess It Up' and 'Live By The Sword'.

And guitarist Keith Richards, 79, has admitted he and frontman Sir Mick Jagger, 80, felt compelled to get into the studio following the loss of Charlie - who died from throat cancer aged 80 in August 2021 - and after being impressed by how "seamlessly" his replacement, Steve Jordan, slotted in during their live shows.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper, Keith said: “It jolted us into thinking we’ve got to make a record.

“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.

“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!”

'Live By The Sword' also sees the iconic group's rhythm section reunited as original bassist Bill Wyman, who left in 1993, is back on the bass.

Keith said: “There is a neat tie-up there.

“And it was important for us to put out something we had cut with Charlie.”

The acclaimed record - which is a follow-up to 2005's 'A Bigger Bang' - also features Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder on 'Sweet Sounds of Heaven' and Sir Paul McCartney on 'Bite My Head Off'.

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