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Paul McCartney Joins the Rolling Stones — to Make an Album, Anyway

The Beatle plays on the upcoming Stones record

spinner image Paul McCartney performs at the Pyramid Stage of the Glastonbury Festival and Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones performing at Hippodrome de Longchamp in Paris
(Left to right) Paul McCartney; Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones
Samir Hussein/WireImage; David Wolff-Patrick/Redferns

Paul McCartney recently recorded bass parts in Los Angeles for an upcoming Rolling Stones album. Here’s what we know about it so far.

There’s no Beatles drummer on the record — but there is a lost Stone

Sadly, early rumors that Ringo Starr had joined McCartney on the Stones record proved false. But there are several tracks recorded by the Stones’ drummer Charlie Watts before his 2021 death that are likely to wind up on the album. “Let me put it this way,” Keith Richards told Los Angeles Times writer Mikael Wood, “You haven’t heard the last of Charlie Watts.”

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The historic Beatles-Stones collaboration has a producer who bridges generations

The record is produced by Grammy winner Andrew Watt, 32, also a guitarist and singer, who has worked with McCartney in the past and may have brokered the deal. Watt started the band California Breed with Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath) and Jason Bonham (Foreigner, Led Zeppelin), has performed with the surviving Doors, and produced Elton John and Britney Spears’ duet “Hold Me Closer” and recordings by Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop and Pearl Jam. “He’s good because he’s quick,” Eddie Vedder told Guitar World. “He’s very interesting — we’ve had some fun,” McCartney told the website paulmccartney.com in December.

spinner image The Rolling Stones perform on stage during their Sixty Tour at Anfield in Liverpool, England
(Left to right) Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards perform on stage during The Rolling Stones Sixty Tour at Anfield on June 9, 2022 in Liverpool, England.
Dave J Hogan/Dave J. Hogan/Getty Images

The Stones are on a roll

They released their concert album GRRR Live! this month. It is the first Stones album since 2016’s Grammy-winning blues covers collection, Blue & Lonesome, and the first set of Stones originals since 2005’s A Bigger Bang. The band was the top-grossing live act of 2021, and despite Mick Jagger’s bout with COVID, “Sixty,” their 60th-anniversary show, was the No. 6 tour of 2022.

spinner image Paul McCartney and Mary McCartney at the London premiere of the Disney Plus documentary If These Walls Could Sing
Paul McCartney (left) with his daughter Mary McCartney at the London premiere of the Disney+ original documentary "If These Walls Could Sing" at Abbey Road Studios on Dec. 12, 2022 in London, England.
David M. Benett/Hoda Davaine/Dave Benett/Getty Images

McCartney’s hot too

On the heels of last year’s triumphant “Got Back” tour, the reissues of Wild Life and Revolver, a triple box set of his solo albums, and his appearance in his daughter Mary McCartney’s Abbey Road documentary If These Walls Could Sing — he almost got run over by a car while reenacting the famous crosswalk album cover photo — McCartney has scheduled a tour launching April 28.

spinner image Eric Clapton, John Lennon and Keith Richards perform on the set of The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus in London
(Left to right) Eric Clapton, John Lennon and Keith Richards perform live on stage on the set of "The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus" at Intertel TV Studio in London on Dec. 11, 1968.
Mark and Colleen Hayward/Redferns

This isn’t the first Beatles-Stones collaboration

In 1963, McCartney and John Lennon gave the Stones “I Wanna Be Your Man,” a song that became the band’s first top 20 hit. Brian Jones added vocals to the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” in 1966 and sax to “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” in 1967.​

That year, McCartney and Lennon appeared on Stones tracks “Sing This All Together” and “We Love You.” Jagger added backup vocals on the Lennon-penned “Baby, You’re a Rich Man.” He and Richards provided backing vocals on the Beatles’ performance of “All You Need Is Love” for a global telecast. The bands appeared on each other’s album covers (Sgt. Pepper and Their Satanic Majesties Request).​

In 1968, Lennon and Richards played the Beatles’ “Yer Blues” for the 1968 one-off TV concert special The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. It was the only time members of the Beatles and the Stones played together on stage.​

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Everybody hopes that a Beatle or two will join the Stones in concert

Think of the possibilities! McCartney and Starr are the only surviving Beatles. Jagger and Richards are the only Stones founders still in the band. A singer, a guitarist, a bassist, a drummer. 

But there’s no word yet on whether the Stones will tour in 2023, let alone with McCartney. Is a boomer mega-uber-supergroup apt to happen? Nah. You can’t always get what you want. But soon you will get a Rolling Stones album with a new, 80-year-old lefthanded bass player. And what could be more fab than that?

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