The Rolling Stones made a triumphant return with “Hackney Diamonds,” their first album of original material in nearly two decades. Packed with astonishing guitar work from Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, it’s clear that the LP has struck a chord with fans and critics alike. Even after more than 60 years together, the Stones continue to ignite their creative spark.
To promote their latest masterpiece, Keith Richards recently made a guest appearance on The Tonight Show, hosted by the ever-enthusiastic Jimmy Fallon. Fallon, who had previously hosted a lively Q&A session with the Stones, didn’t hold back in declaring Keef “the greatest guitarist of all time.” He then asked the legendary guitarist to demonstrate his prowess to the younger generation by playing some classic Stones tunes.
With a chuckle, Richards humbly acknowledged, “[Andrés] Segovia might disagree,” but he graciously accepted Fallon’s request. He grabbed a classical guitar with just five tuning pegs and started by showcasing his mastery of open G tuning, effortlessly plucking out the iconic opening of “Honky Tonk Women” using only open strings. The performance then transitioned into the timeless anthem, “Start Me Up,” prompting Fallon to give his best Mick Jagger impression, complete with the accent.
Fallon marveled at Richards’ ability to create such a rich and full sound on his own and asked him to close out the session with “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” With a little help from the Roots, especially guitarist “Captain” Kirk Douglas and his signature triple-humbucker Gibson SG, the duo rocked the stage.
Although Richards wielded a classical guitar on The Tonight Show, he certainly had an impressive array of gear during the recording sessions for “Hackney Diamonds.” The album’s producer, Andrew Watt, known for his work with iconic artists like Pearl Jam, Ozzy Osbourne, and Iggy Pop, brought five amplifiers that had been meticulously fine-tuned by the legendary Alexander Dumble to the studio. Additionally, he generously lent Richards a vintage 1930 Gibson L-4 acoustic guitar for the album’s closing track, a heartfelt cover of Muddy Waters’ “Rolling Stone Blues.”