Keith Richards Says Recording New Rolling Stones Collaboration with Paul McCartney Felt 'Like the Old Days'

The former Beatle teamed up with The Rolling Stones for "Bite My Head Off" from the iconic rock band's new album 'Hackney Diamonds'

<p>Kevin Mazur/WireImage</p> Paul McCartney and Keith Richards

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Paul McCartney and Keith Richards

Keith Richards was ready for Paul McCartney to finally join The Rolling Stones in the studio.

The legendary UK rock band teamed up with the former Beatle for the song "Bite My Head Off" on the new album Hackney Diamonds, and Richards opened up to Matt Wilkinson on Apple Music 1 for a new interview about the collaboration.

"I felt that it was bloody time," said the 79-year-old Rolling Stones guitarist of working with McCartney, 81, for their first official collaboration. "I've known Paul for 60 years, just about. Although him and John [Lennon] did do a few backup vocals with us in the sixties. Great fun to play with."

Related: Mick Jagger Hints Rolling Stones May Leave $500M Album Fortune to Charity to 'Do Some Good in the World'

"Bite My Head Off" features McCartney on bass guitar and appears on The Rolling Stones' first album of new material since 2005's A Bigger Band. "At the end of it, I just said, 'Well, that's just like the good old days,'" Richards recalled of the "Hey Jude" singer-songwriter's studio session with Mick Jagger, Ronnie Wood and himself.

Hackney Diamonds, which dropped Friday, also boasts guest appearances from Stevie Wonder and Lady Gaga on the song "Sweet Sounds of Heaven." Elsewhere in the Apple Music 1 interview, Richards detailed how the two superstars joined forces with The Rolling Stones.

"The thing is, it was such a spontaneous and organic session. We knew that Stevie was coming by, and I think Gaga only dropped in because she happened to be working in a studio across the hallway and just walked in," recalled the guitarist.

Related: Mick Jagger Says Working with Lady Gaga on Rolling Stones' Latest Single Was a 'Great Experience'

<p>Kevin Mazur/Getty</p> Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards backstage before The Rolling Stones surprise set in celebration of their new album 'Hackney Diamonds' on October 19, 2023 in New York City.

Kevin Mazur/Getty

Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards backstage before The Rolling Stones surprise set in celebration of their new album 'Hackney Diamonds' on October 19, 2023 in New York City.

He continued, "Playing with Stevie is always mind-blowing, and I thought that Lady did an incredible job, man. She snaked her way in there and took it over and gave [the session] as good as she got with Mick, and it was great fun."

The Rolling Stones' latest body of work also marks its first since drummer Charlie Watt died at age 80 in August 2021 following an undisclosed illness. Two of the album's 11 songs — "Mess It Up" and "Live by the Sword" — were recorded before his death and feature his musical contributions. The rest of the project utilizes Steve Jordan, who previously played drums in the John Mayer Trio and on television shows including Saturday Night Live and Late Night with David Letterman.

"Charlie had an incredible stamp on what he did. I'm actually at the moment still saying, 'Thank god there's a Steve Jordan,' because Charlie Watts recommended Steve to us many years ago," said Richards, noting that Jordan "was about the only other guy that I could think that could fill that spot, man."

Related: The Rolling Stones: All About the Members of the Iconic Rock Band Then and Now

<p>Kevin Mazur/Getty</p> The Rolling Stones

Kevin Mazur/Getty

The Rolling Stones

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The guitarist explained what it's like to perform without Watts following decades with the late drummer. "Steve and I have been laughing that sometimes on the last couple of tours, every now then and I turn around and for some reason I expect to see Charlie," he said.

Richards added, "I guess because sometimes Steve can play so much like Charlie that I'm fooled that I turn around, and there's Steve Jordan. We play around with that. But hell, early days... Steve's only been with us two years, this band's been going 60."

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