How Andrew Watt Became Rock's Big Producer: His Work With Paul McCartney, Ozzy Osbourne, Pearl Jam, & More | GRAMMY.com (2024)

How Andrew Watt Became Rock's Big Producer: His Work With Paul McCartney, Ozzy Osbourne, Pearl Jam, & More | GRAMMY.com (1)

Andrew Watt

Photo: Adali Schell

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Andrew Watt cut his teeth with pop phenoms, but lately, the 2021 Producer Of The Year winner has been in demand among rockers — from the Rolling Stones and Blink-182 to Elton John.

Morgan Enos

|GRAMMYs/Apr 17, 2024 - 01:45 pm

While in a studio, Andrew Watt bounces off the walls. Just ask Mick Jagger, who once had to gently tell the 33-year-old, "Look, I can deal with this, but when you meet Ronnie and Keith, you have to dial it down a little bit."

Or ask Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard. "He really got the best out of [drummer] Matt [Cameron] just by being excited — literally jumping up and down and pumping his fist and running around," he tells GRAMMY.com.

As Watt's hot streak has burned on, reams have rightly been written about his ability to take a legacy act, reconnect them with their essence, and put a battery in their back. His efficacy can be seen at Music's Biggest Night: Ozzy Osbourne's Patient Number 9 won Best Rock Album at the 2023 GRAMMYs. At the last ceremony, the Rolling Stones were nominated for Best Rock Song, for Hackney Diamonds' opener "Angry."

On Pearl Jam's return to form, Dark Matter, due out April 19. Who was behind the desk? Take a wild guess.

"You want to see them live more than you want to listen to their albums, and they have the ability to look at each other and play and follow each other. I don't like my rock music any other way, as a listener," Watt tells GRAMMY.com. "All my favorite records are made like that — of people speeding up, slowing down, playing longer than they should."

As such, Watt had a lightbulb moment: to not record any demos, and have them write together in the room. "They're all playing different stuff, and it makes up what Pearl Jam is, and singer Eddie [Vedder] rides it like a wave."

If you're more of a pop listener, there's tons of Watt for you — he's worked with Justin Bieber ("Hit the Ground" from Purpose), Lana Del Rey ("Doin' Time" from Norman F—ing Rockwell) and much more. Read on for a breakdown of big name rockers who have worked with Andrew Watt.

Pearl Jam / Eddie Vedder

Watt didn't just produce Dark Matter; he also helmed Vedder's well-received third solo album, Earthling, from 2022. Watt plays guitar in Vedder's live backing band, known as the Earthlings — which also includes Josh Klinghoffer, who replaced John Frusciante in the Red Hot Chili Peppers for a stint.

The Rolling Stones

Dark Matter was a comeback for Pearl Jam, but Hackney Diamonds was really a comeback for the Stones. While it had a hater or two, the overwhelming consensus was that it was the Stones' best album in decades — maybe even since 1978's Some Girls.

"I hope what makes it fresh and modern comes down to the way it's mixed, with focus on low end and making sure the drums are big," Watt, who wore a different Stones shirt every day in the studio, has said about Hackney Diamonds. "But the record is recorded like a Stones album."

Where there are modern rock flourishes on Hackney Diamonds, "There's no click tracks. There's no gridding. There's no computer editing," he continued. "This s— is performed live and it speeds up and slows down. It's made to the f—ing heartbeat connection of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Steve Jordan.

"And Charlie," Watt added, tipping a hat to Watts, who played on Hackney Diamonds but died before it came out. "When Charlie's on it."

Iggy Pop

Ever since he first picked up a mic and removed his shirt, the snapping junkyard dog of the Stooges has stayed relevant — as far as indie, alternative and punk music has been concerned.

But aside from bright spots like 2016's Josh Homme-produced Post Pop Depression, his late-career output has felt occasionally indulgent and enervated. The 11 songs on 2023's eclectic Watt-produced Every Loser, on the other hand, slap you in the face in 11 different ways.

"We would jam and make tracks and send them to Iggy, and he would like 'em and write to them or wouldn't like them and we'd do something else," Watt told Billboard. "It was very low pressure. We just kept making music until we felt like we had an album." (And as with Pearl Jam and Vedder's Earthlings band, Watt has rocked out onstage with Pop.

Ozzy Osbourne

You dropped your crown, O Prince of Darkness. When he hooked up with Watt, the original Black Sabbath frontman hadn't released any solo music since 2010's Scream; in 2017, Sabbath finally said goodbye after 49 years and 10 (!) singers.

On 2020's Ordinary Man and 2022's Patient Number 9, Watt reenergized Ozzy; even when he sounds his age, Ozz sounds resolute, defiant, spitting in the face of the Reaper. (A bittersweet aside: the late Taylor Hawkins appears on Patient Number 9, which was written and recorded in just four days.)

Maroon 5

Yeah, yeah, they're more of a pop-rock band, but they have guitars, bass and drums. (And if you're the type of rock fan who's neutral or hostile to the 5, you shouldn't be; Songs About Jane slaps.)

At any rate, Watt co-produced "Can't Leave You Alone," featuring Juice WRLD, from 2021's Jordi. Critics disparaged the album, but showed Watt's facility straddling the pop and rock worlds.

5 Seconds of Summer

When it comes to Andrew Watt, the Sydney pop-rockers — slightly more on the rock end than Maroon 5 and their ilk — are repeat customers. He produced a number of tracks for 5 Seconds of Summer, which spanned 2018's Youngblood, 2020's Calm and 2022's 5SOS5.

Regarding the former: Watt has cited Youngblood as one of the defining recording experiences of his life.

"I had started working with 5 Seconds of Summer, and a lot of people looked at them as a boy band, but they're not," Watt told Guitar Player. "They're all incredible musicians. They can all play every instrument. They love rock music. They can harmonize like skyrockets in flight. They just were making the wrong kind of music."

So Watt showed 5 Seconds of Summer a number of mainstays of the rock era, like Tears for Fears and the Police. The rest, as they say, is history.

Elton John

A year after Britney Spears was unshackled from her highly controversial conservatorship, it was time for a victory lap with the God of Glitter. What resulted was a curious little bauble, which became a megahit: "Hold Me Closer," a spin on "Tiny Dancer," "The One" and "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" that briefly launched Spears back into the stratosphere.

"Britney came in and she knew what she wanted to do," Watt recalled to The L.A. Times. "We sped up the song a little bit and she sang the verses in her falsetto, which harkens back to 'Toxic.' She was having a blast."

Blink-182

Watt has also worked with pop/punk heroes Blink-182 — but not after Tom DeLonge made his grand return. He produced "I Really Wish I Hated You" from 2019's Nine, back when Matt Skiba was in the band.

Where in the rock world will this tender-aged superproducer strike next? Watt knows.

Songbook: The Rolling Stones' Seven-Decade Journey To Hackney Diamonds

How Andrew Watt Became Rock's Big Producer: His Work With Paul McCartney, Ozzy Osbourne, Pearl Jam, & More | GRAMMY.com (2)

The Beatles in 1964

Photo: Mark and Colleen Hayward / Redferns / Getty Images

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A month before the Beatles played "The Ed Sullivan Show," they released their second American studio album — the one most people heard first. Here's a track-by-track breakdown of this magnitudinous slab of wax by the Fab Four.

Morgan Enos

|GRAMMYs/Jan 19, 2024 - 06:48 pm

For many in America, Meet the Beatles! marked their first introduction to the legendary Fab Four — and their lives would be forever altered.

Released on Jan. 20, 1964 by Capitol Records, the Beatles' second American studio album topped the Billboard 200 within a month and stayed there for 11 weeks — only to be ousted by their next U.S. album release, The Beatles' Second Album.

It's almost impossible to put into words the impact of Meet

the Beatles! on an entire generation of the listening public. But Billy Corgan, of the Smashing Pumpkins, gave it a shot as an early fan of the Beatles in a series of LiveJournal remembrances — in this case, of himself at five years old, in 1972.

"I am totally overwhelmed by the collective sound of the greatest band ever blasting in mono thru a tin needle into a tiny speaker," he wrote. "I associate this sound forever with electricity, for it sends bolts thru my body and leaves me breathless. I can not stand still as I listen, so I must spin… I spin until I am ready to pass out, and then I spin some more."

So many other artists remember that eureka moment. "They were doing things nobody was doing. Their chords were outrageous, just outrageous, and their harmonies made it all valid," Bob Dylan said of the opening track, "I Want to Hold Your Hand." "I knew they were pointing the direction of where music had to go." Everyone from Ozzy Osbourne to Sting and Questlove agreed.

From Meet the Beatles!, the Fabs would have the most astonishing five-or-six-year run in music. And so much of their songwriting and production innovation can be found within its grooves; truly, the world had no idea what it was in for. In celebration of the 60th anniversary of Meet the Beatles!, here's a quick track-by-track breakdown.

"I Want to Hold Your Hand"

The Fabs' first American No. 1 hit may have been about the chastest of romantic gestures. Still, there's nothing heavier than "I Want to Hold Your Hand," because it's clamor and fraternity. That seemingly saccharine package also contained everything they'd ever do in concentrate — hints of the foreboding of "Ticket to Ride," the galactic final chord of "A Day in the Life," and beyond.

"I Saw Her Standing There"

A few too many awards show tributes have threatened to do in "I Saw Her Standing There," but they've failed. As the opening shot of their first UK album, Please Please Me, it's perfect, but as the second track on Meet the Beatles!, it just adds to the magnitude. What a one-two punch.

"This Boy"

Songwriting-wise, "This Boy" drags a little; it becomes a little hazy who "this boy" or "that boy" are. But it's not only a killer Smokey Robinson rip; John Lennon's double-tracked vocal solo still punches straight through your chest. (Where applicable, go for the 2020s Giles Martin remix, which carries maximum clarity, definition and punch — said solo is incredible in this context.)

"It Won't Be Long"


Half a dozen other songs here have overshadowed "It Won't Be Long," but it's still one of the early Beatles' most ruthless kamikaze missions, an assault of flying "yeahs" that knocks you sideways.

"All I've Got to Do"

Lennon shrugged off "All I've Got to Do" as "trying to do Smokey Robinson again," and that's more or less what it is. One interesting detail is the conceit of calling a girlfriend on the phone, which was firmly alien to British youth: "I have never called a girl on the 'phone in my life!"he said later in an interview. "Because 'phones weren't part of the English child's life."

"All My Loving"

"All My Loving" was the first song the Beatles played on the American airwaves: when Lennon was pronounced dead, eyewitnesses attest the song came over the speakers. It's a grim trajectory for this most inventive and charismatic of early Beatles singles, with Lennon's tumbling rhythm guitar spilling the composition forth. (About that unorthodox strumming pattern: it seems easy until you try it. And Lennon did it effortlessly.)

"Don't Bother Me"

As Dreaming the Beatles author Rob Sheffield put it, "'Don't Bother Me,' his first real song, began the 'George is in a bad mood' phase of his songwriting, which never ended." Harrison wouldn't pick up the sitar for another year or two, but the song still carries a vaguely dreamy, exotic air.

"Little Child"

"I'm so sad and lonely/ Baby, take a chance with me." For a tortured, creative kid like Corgan, from a rough background — and, likely, a million similar young folks — Lennon's childlike plea must have sounded like salvation.

"Till There Was You"

McCartney's infatuation with the postwar sounds of his youth never ended, and it arguably began on record with this Music Man tune. As usual, McCartney dances right on the edge of overly chipper and apple-cheeked. But here, George Martin's immersive, soft-focused arrangement makes it all work.

"Hold Me Tight"

Like "Little Child," "Hold Me Tight" is a tad Fabs-by-numbers, showing how they occasionally painted themselves into a corner as per their formula. Their rapid evolution from here would leave trifles like "Hold Me Tight" in the rearview.

"I Wanna Be Your Man"

Tellingly, Lennon and McCartney tossed this half-written composition to the Stones — and to Ringo Starr. Mick Jagger's typically lusty performance works, but Starr's is even better — the funny-nosed drummer throws his whole chest into this vocal workout.

"Not A Second Time"

Meet the Beatles! concludes with this likable Lennon tune about heartbreak — maybe C-tier by his standards, but it slouches toward his evolutionary step that would be A Hard Day's Night.

Soon, these puppy-dog emotions ("And now you've changed your mind/ I see no reason to change mine/ I cry") would curdle and ferment in astonishing ways — in "Ticket to Ride," in "Girl," in "Strawberry Fields Forever." And it all began with Meet the Beatles! — a shot heard around the world.

1962 Was The Final Year We Didn't Know The Beatles. What Kind Of World Did They Land In?

How Andrew Watt Became Rock's Big Producer: His Work With Paul McCartney, Ozzy Osbourne, Pearl Jam, & More | GRAMMY.com (3)

Britney Spears performs in 2016.

Photo: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

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As Britney Spears celebrates the 20th anniversary of one of her all-time classics, "Toxic," GRAMMY.com rounds up 15 tracks that encapsulate the star's peak performances and iconic moments.

Tamara Palmer

|GRAMMYs/Jan 12, 2024 - 06:57 pm

Britney Spears recently posted a message on Instagram that asserted she'd never return to the music business. She later deleted it, which could be taken as a sign that she hasn't made this big decision with such finality. But it was certainly an alarming statement to her diehard fans eagerly awaiting new music.

It's fair to hold out hope that Spears will want to be a public entertainer and recording artist again in some ways — after all, she did just release a memoir, The Woman in Me, in October, and the book reveals a healing woman. And, of course, she scored a worldwide hit in 2022 with Elton John in "Hold Me Closer."

Even if she never releases another piece of music, Spears already has quite the legacy. Between five No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, six No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200, and a GRAMMY win, her mark on pop music is undeniable. Part of that impact is courtesy of "Toxic," the danceable smash that was released as a single in January 2004 (and won Spears her GRAMMY in 2005).

In honor of the 20th anniversary of "Toxic," GRAMMY.com surveyed the pop superstar's hits and deep cuts from 1998 to the present in order to break down some of the most essential tracks in Spears' catalog. Between beautiful ballads and brazen bops, let the reminiscing commence.

"...Baby, One More Time," ...Baby One More Time (1998)

Written and co-produced by powerhouse Swedish pop producer Max Martin — a frequent collaborator throughout Spears' career — the singer's debut single was rewarded with some of the highest honors of the music industry when she was just 17 years old.

"...Baby, One More Time" topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 42nd GRAMMY Awards. It has since sold over 10 million copies, and to this day remains one of her defining hits. (And to think it almost wasn't hers: According to Yahoo! News Australia, the song was reportedly originally offered to the Backstreet Boys.)

The song's instantly meteoric success was undoubtedly catapulted by its memorable video, which sees Spears dance her way through private school halls in a (now iconic) skimpy uniform. Seeing it performed visually cemented her image as a young, belly-baring flirt with girl-next-door looks, approachable style and enviable dancing skills, an archetype that little girls everywhere wanted to emulate.

"Oops!... I Did It Again," Oops!... I Did It Again (2000)

Spears further played with her innocent image on "Oops!... I Did It Again," a sassy song that suggests suitors aren't exactly safe with their heart in her hands. It was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 43rd GRAMMYs.

"I think I did it again," she sings at the top of the track. "I made you believe we're more than just friends." Spawning another classic video and another trademark look (this time, a red catsuit), "Oops" emphasized Spears' further pivot into naughtiness and had thousands learning her choreography in a pre-YouTube era.

Another Max Martin and Rami Yacoub production, "Oops" stuck at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, but the album of the same name debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and set first-week records for sales by a woman artist at the time with 1,319,913 copies sold.

"Lucky," Oops!... I Did It Again (2000)

"Lucky" is a peppy song with a sprinkle of sadness on top. Its titular character is a Hollywood girl who seems to have it all, but there's no one to share her success with, so she is lonely and cries at night. It was a poignant sentiment, given her fame at the time, and was re-examined by fans in recent years as she fought for freedom from her conservatorship overseen by her father, Jamie Spears.

While it didn't manage to break the top 20 of the Hot 100, "Lucky" has always been a fan favorite. The song did break through internationally, though, becoming a No. 1 hit in three European countries as well as on Europe's overall pop chart.

"Dear Diary," Oops!... I Did It Again (2000)

Spears has worked with a global roster of songwriters and producers over the years, but the Oops! ballad "Dear Diary" marked a special moment for the star: it was the first album cut that she co-wrote.

While Oops!... I Did It Again largely showed a maturing Spears, the innocence and sweetness of "Dear Diary" served as a reminder that she was still just a teenager in the beginning of her stardom. The track also seemingly gave her the confidence to co-write more of her songs, as she had a hand in writing almost half of 2001's Britney and almost all of 2003's In the Zone.

"I'm a Slave 4 U," Britney (2001)

Spears went rather gritty on the lead single to her third, self-titled album. While earlier singles may have had a sexy wink within their words, the lyrics of "I'm a Slave 4 U" took a deeper plunge into the erotic zone. "All you people look at me like I'm a little girl," she sings defensively. "Well, did you ever think it'd be okay for me to step into this world?"

Along with the racy lyrics, Spears' visual performances of the song — a music video depiction of a steamy basem*nt club night and a VMA performance that included dancing with an Albino Burmese python around her neck — added more cultural moments to her repertoire.

"Overprotected," Britney (2001)

Spears' massive fame made her an early paparazzi magnet and led her to be sheltered by her management, record label and family. These topics are addressed head-on over the soaring notes of "Overprotected."

"Say hello to the girl that I am/ You're gonna have to see through my perspective," she declares on the opening verse. "I need to make mistakes just to learn who I am/ And I don't wanna be so damn protected."

The anthem foreshadowed her future hit "Piece of Me" — and the struggle for independence she'd later fight for during her conservatorship — but ultimately showed that she isn't afraid to speak her mind and fight for what's hers.

"I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman," Britney (2001)

After two bold statements with Britney's first two singles ("I'm a Slave 4 U" and "Overprotected"), Spears pumped the brakes on the notion of her growing up too fast in the ballad "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman." The song appeared on her third album, Britney, and in the soundtrack for the road trip dramedy Crossroads.

"There is no need to protect me," she sings powerfully on the track, which appears to mirror her experience in real life at that moment in time. "It's time that I/ Learn to face up to this on my own/ I've seen so much more than you know now/ So don't tell me to shut my eyes."

"Toxic," In the Zone (2003)

"Toxic" is an uptempo whirlwind of sampled Bollywood strings and Swedish pop drama crafted by the popular dance pop producers Bloodshy & Avant. Another single that took on a life of its own visually, the video served up another set of iconic looks: the deadly assassin, the sparkly nude bodysuit and the perky flight attendant.

"Toxic" remains Spears' biggest hit as of press time, now certified six-times platinum by the RIAA and the only song with more than one billion streams on Spotify. It also won Spears her one GRAMMY, for Best Dance Recording at the 47th GRAMMY Awards.

And 20 years after its release as a single, "Toxic" has had remarkable staying power on the pop charts. As of 2023, the song appeared on the Hot 100 in three different incarnations: the original track and the mash-ups "Toxic Pony" by Altégo and "Toxic Las Vegas" by Jamieson Shaw.

"Everytime," In the Zone (2003)

By this era of Spears' discography, fans were more than used to autotune and other processed treatments on her singing — but "Everytime" is Spears in a more vulnerable and unplugged state. Co-written by Spears, the slow, melancholic ballad hit even harder because it was released after her public breakup with Justin Timberlake.

Fans hadn't heard anything quite as sad from Spears in her career as the pining lyrics of the chorus on "Everytime": "And every time I try to fly I fall/ Without my wings/ I feel so small/ I guess I need you, baby." The song became a fan favorite for the rawness of her vocal delivery, and was also a personal favorite for Spears during her Las Vegas concert residency.

"Womanizer," Circus (2008)

Spears' father began his role as her conservator in February 2008. Seven months later, she released "Womanizer," the lead single to her sixth album, Circus — which proved that no one was going to hold her down.

"You say I'm crazy," she sneers on the chorus of the engine-roaring uptempo track, which pokes fun at recent troubles with her ex-husband Kevin Federline. "I got your crazy!" she adds, sarcastically.

While the song's message focused on telling off a, well, womanizer, its commercial success showed Spears' new conservatorship meant nothing for her staying power. "Womanizer" was her first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 since "...Baby, One More Time" topped the chart in January 1999; it also earned Spears her seventh GRAMMY nomination, for Best Dance Recording at the 2010 GRAMMYs.

"If You Seek Amy," Circus (2008)

If the title to the sing-songy "If You Seek Amy" is said out loud, it sounds like a sexual proposition. And that's exactly what makes this Max Martin-produced track so enjoyable.

Despite everything she was experiencing in her personal life, it offered evidence that Spears still knew how to poke fun at her staying at the center of attention. It's a perfect time capsule to an era when she was most wanted by the paparazzi.

"Hold It Against Me," Femme Fatale (2011)

Spears' "Hold It Against Me" flips an old chauvinistic joke into girl power — another clever piece added to the singer's puzzle. After being objectified so much over the course of her career, this song was her bid to put an end to it.

"Hold It Against Me" continued Spears' late 2000s hot streak into the 2010s. It earned the singer her fourth No. 1 on the Hot 100, following the chart-topping success of "3," her cheeky ode to threesomes, in 2009.

"Work B—," Britney Jean (2013)

Spears assumes a faux British accent for "Work B—," a bossy cut made for gyms or the club. "You want a hot body? You want a Bugatti? You want a Maserati?" she asks over an insistent beat. "You better work, b—… now get to work, b—!"

Shortly after the track was released in 2013, Spears told English talk show host Alan Carr that the song is a tribute to her gay male friends, with whom she uses the word b— playfully and affectionately as a term of endearment. It became both a gay club anthem and a top 20 hit on the Hot 100 chart, and the video revived interest in Spears' dancing chops.

"Slumber Party (feat. Tinashe), Glory (2016)

A slightly different sound for Spears compared to her pop and dance productions, "Slumber Party" features Tinashe with a lyrical cadence that is more in the R&B singer's realm. It's perhaps the Spears song with the most urban radio feel since "I'm a Slave 4 U."

Fans may also remember "Slumber Party" fondly for what was once a romantic reason: Spears' now ex-husband Sam Asghari was cast as the leading man in the lingerie-heavy music video; it's how they first met each other.

"Hold Me Closer" with Elton John, The Lockdown Sessions (2022)

What better way to celebrate a big feat than with a massive collaboration? Nine months after Spears' long-fought conservatorship was terminated, she dropped a team-up with none other than Sir Elton John.

The unexpected duo released "Hold Me Closer," a soaring duet that interpolates parts of John's beloved hits "Tiny Dancer," "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" and "The One" into a singular modern mix. And though Spears is more of a background vocalist, her first release in six years marked quite the comeback: "Hold Me Closer" topped the Billboard Adult Top 40 and the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs charts, and reached No. 6 on the Hot 100.

As of press time, "Hold Me Closer" is the last song that Spears has released to date. While it's possible that there may not be any more recordings to follow, it's also safe to say she has surprised the world more than once before.

How Many GRAMMYs Has Britney Spears Won? 10 Questions About The "Hold Me Closer" Singer Answered

How Andrew Watt Became Rock's Big Producer: His Work With Paul McCartney, Ozzy Osbourne, Pearl Jam, & More | GRAMMY.com (4)

The Rolling Stones

Photos (L-R): Mark Seliger, Kevin Mazur/WireImage, Tom Hill/WireImage, Mark and Colleen Hayward/Redferns

Artistically, the Rolling Stones are back in business, with their first album of original material in 18 years — including a GRAMMY-nominated single. If you've gotten the bug for the first time in a while, here's a crash course on their recorded history.

Morgan Enos

|GRAMMYs/Jan 5, 2024 - 02:40 pm

What is it like to listen to new Rolling Stones music in 2024? You might think of overabundant slickness ,everything-to-everyone commerciality, a sense of rock-by-committee. But if your immediate association with the band is their status as an industry unto themselves — with the music as an afterthought — then you may not know the Rolling Stones.

"This is a performance-based record; this is live. That's why it speeds up and slows down and pushes and pulls — the only way the Stones should be." That's what GRAMMY-winning producer Andrew Watt — the "sprightly young fellow" that Paul McCartney recommended to the band — told Rolling Stone of the Stones' new album, Hackney Diamonds.

But it goes deeper than that. In a scathing review of Hackney Diamonds, Pitchfork declared the Stones to "gleam like sickly wax figures. Jagger, terrifyingly, has never sounded so youthful." Has Jagger been rendered animatronic? A resounding no — at 80, he simply remains a force of nature — as do his fellow surviving Stones, guitarists Keith Richards and Ron Wood.

"I've never seen anybody push themselves to the level that this guy pushed himself to in the studio," Watt continued to Rolling Stone. "He never left a vocal without a full deep sweat, putting every single thing he had into it every time." Best of all, this wasn't in the pursuit of perfection, but a beautiful racket.

"What's so f—ing cool," Watt continued, "is sometimes he'd do a take and he'd be like, 'I'm singing too good. I need to do that again and throw that away more… give it more feeling.'"

Across seven decades, the Stones have more than earned their stripes as the self-dubbed "World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band" — and so much of it has to do with that feeling.

That's why they're in the upper echelon, toe-to-toe with the Beatles in that tired binary, despite never pursuing a fraction of their innovation or ambition. Because when it comes to bluesy yearning, broiling salaciousness and that guitar weave, no guitar band has ever come close.

As veteran music journalist Rob Sheffield once put it, "Part of Mick's vast intelligence was to understand that he didn't have that kind of sincerity in his empty heart, and he was too crafty to make a clown of himself trying to fake it. He knew he couldn't out-Beatle the Beatles. So the Stones chose different turf to conquer. The Stones are Stonesier. The Beatles are merely better."

There's no way that a single article can contain all the facets of the Stones. But if you saw the news of Hackney Diamonds — their first album of original material in 18 years — and find yourself catching the bug again, here's a brief breakdown of their vast catalog.

The Brian Jones Era (1962-1969)

The thing about the greatest rock 'n' roll bands is that they tend to have ghosts following them around — e.g. integral, original members who lost their way, or their life, early on.

The Beatles did, in the incorporeal form of Stu Sutciffe. So did Pink Floyd, in Syd Barrett. Today, the spirits of Dennis and Carl Wilson silently observe the Beach Boys. The list goes on and on.

The Stones might have the ultimate band ghost in Brian Jones — their bowl-cutted, blonde angel who actually started the group, back in 1962.

Many decades on, Paul McCartney got flak for calling the Stones a "blues cover band," which obviously didn't take into account the Glimmer Twins' numberless, unforgettable originals. But that was what they were, from the jump.

If you haven't heard their 1964, self-titled debut, subtitled England's Newest Hit Makers, it's a proto-punk banger — with revved-up takes on "Route 66" and Chuck Berry's "Carol," among other selections from across the garage R&B canon.

Very soon after, the Stones began writing inspired originals, like "As Tears Go By" and "Get Off of My Cloud." (Not to mention, er, one you may have heard about "girl reaction.") Around the time of 1966's Aftermath — their first masterpiece — Jones was decorating their tunes with outré instrumentation, like the ominous sitar on "Paint It, Black."

Jones continued to make inspired contributions to the Stones' palette, including in their still-underrated 1967 goof on Sgt. Pepper's, Their Satanic Majesties Request.

As he became eclipsed by Jagger and Richards, Jones became more and more unmanageable, culminating in his ousting and drowning in a pool in 1969.

This earliest incarnation of the Stones has its partisans: it's arguable that they never went on to write a song as lovely as the acoustic "Back Street Girl," for example. But with the passing of the torch to Mick Taylor, the stadium-sized version we all know and love was rapidly approaching.

The Mick Taylor Era (and after) (1969-1976)

While Taylor's tenure as Stones axeman lasted only five years, the former Bluesbreaker might be the greatest guitarist the band ever enjoyed.

After a couple of cameos on 1969's epochal Let it Bleed — the one with "Gimme Shelter" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" on it — Taylor joined the band proper for 1971's Sticky Fingers, one of their most beloved albums by far.

Therein, that aforementioned weave is on full display, between Richards and Taylor: they should teach the rhythmic underpinning of "Brown Sugar" and "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" in school.

Plus, the immortal, still soul-inflaming ballad "Wild Horses" contains perhaps their most elliptical, haunting lyric: "Let's do some living after we die."

Despite Jagger's vocal dislike of the album, the double-disc Exile on Main St. is considered their masterpiece for very good reasons: Despite the brilliance of albums like Aftermath onward, they hadn't quite made an album that hung together cohesively, with a clear arc.

But Exile on Main St. — famously recorded grungy, topless and stoned in a rented French villa, as tax exiles — is worth many, many listens, front to back. It begins gakked out and flying high, as on "Rocks Off," then ends clear-eyed, hungover and grappling for salvation, as on "Shine a Light."

The Stones never quite revisited the heights of Exile on Main St. — although its lumpy, potent follow-up, 1973's Goats Head Soup, deserves more flowers.

After 1974's It's Only Rock n' Roll — chiefly known for the oldies favorite of a title track — Taylor left on short notice, following personality differences and rancor over credits.

He was replaced by the Faces' Ron Wood — essentially the Stones' version of Ringo, in that he was never considered a technical whiz, but the glue that continues to hold colorful, volatile personalities together.

Forging On With Ron (1976-present)

Jagger, Richards, bassist Bill Wyman, and drummer Charlie Watts' first album with Wood was 1976's Black and Blue, their most exhausted album by some margin. (Which doesn't mean it's bad at all: bone-weary Stones has a patina all its own, and "Memory Motel" belongs in the time capsule.)

But this rudderlessness proved to be a fluke: they followed it with 1978's Some Girls, at the height of punk and disco. That album's highlights, like "Miss You," "Beast of Burden" and "Shattered," restored the band to their debaucherous glory.

The follow-up, 1980's Emotional Rescue, was fine, but a bit of a bunt. Especially compared to the following year's Tattoo You, a terrifically echoey and plasticine document of their stadium prowess with a lead single implanted in our heads from birth: "Start Me Up."

Unfortunately, the ensuing '80s were as unkind to the Stones as they were to 95 percent of their contemporaries — although 1989's rewarding Steel Wheels is an ugly duckling worth hearing at least once. That year, their inimitable bassist Wyman left the group, never to fully return.

The Stones released a grand total of two albums in the '90s, mostly raking it in as titans of the live circuit. In 2005, they released A Bigger Bang, which would turn out to be their final album until 2016, in the back-to-basics blues-covers release Blue & Lonesome.

Tragically, in 2021, Watts — their steely, enigmatic engine driver, and a reluctant rock star if there ever was one — passed away of cancer.

Before his death, they'd fitfully hit the studio. But this time, they set a hard deadline, with a plucky, 30-something producer — and the result was the Stones' most acclaimed album in many decades.

Watts: A Light Goes Out (2021-present)

It's hard to put into words how bone-snappingly vital the Stones sound on 2023's Hackney Diamonds, deep into the AARP demographic.

The lead single, "Angry" — nominated for Best Rock Song at the 2024 GRAMMYs — finds Watts' appointed heir, Steve Jordan, leading the charge, with the three soul survivors powered by that old piss and vinegar.

From there, all the way to the Muddy Waters coda ("Rolling Stone Blues") that gave the band their name, Hackney Diamonds is a triumph.

The ridiculously high-profile guests throughout, like Elton John ("Get Close"), McCartney ("Bite My Head Off") and Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder ("Sweet Sounds of Heaven"), never feel like they're buoying the proceedings; they sound like the Stones' most voracious fans, living the dream. (As McCartney put it after tracking his viciously fuzzy bass part: "I just played f—ing bass with the Stones — and I'm a f—ing Beatle."

Jagger and Richards are adamant this isn't the end: half an album's already in the can. Who knows where it'll go — but one thing is certain, they'll never dilute or compromise this stew. That feeling — the one they've been chasing since they were flop-haired teenagers — is much too important.

Living Legends: Chicago's Robert Lamm On Songwriting and Longevity

How Andrew Watt Became Rock's Big Producer: His Work With Paul McCartney, Ozzy Osbourne, Pearl Jam, & More | GRAMMY.com (5)

Olivia Rodrigo performing in 2023

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

list

The year is just getting started, but 2024 is already stacked with exciting tours. Open up your calendar and start planning with this sprawling list of announced 2024 tours.

Morgan Enos

|GRAMMYs/Jan 4, 2024 - 04:13 pm

Just a couple of years ago, live music still looked uncertain — would variant X, Y or Z derail the train for the umpteenth time? But in that regard, 2023 felt almost totally in the clear — and that's why it feels like the rubber band is stretched back for 2024, and it's ready to launch.

Sure, compiling every musical act who's touring in 2024 might be impossible. But GRAMMY.com's stylistic purview is far and wide: country, hardcore, soul, R&B, rap, indie rock, you name it. As such, we're giving it our best shot — and will continue to update the list as more tours are announced.

Without further ado, here's a major cross section of the 2024 touring landscape as currently announced — from Alvvays to Adam Ant, from Def Leppard to Danny Brown.

Laura Pausini: Laura Pausini World Tour
Jan. 6 - April 6
North & Latin America

Italian singer (and the Latin Recording Academy's Person Of The Year) Laura Pausini is venturing through North & Latin America in the spring.

Slowdive
Jan. 16 - May 18
U.S., Asia & Europe

The reunited shoegaze greats just released a well-loved new album, everything is alive — which is currently taking on new shades onstage. See them in 2024, on an extensive tour of Europe with Japan dates, and then a plethora of U.S. stops.

Madison Beer: The Spinnin Tour
Jan. 17 - June 13
UK, Europe, & U.S.

The pop, hip-hop, EDM, and R&B star released Silence Between Songs in 2023; she'll support it with The Spinnin Tour, which heads stateside from Europe across the spring of 2024.

Drake with J.Cole: It's All A Blur - Big As The What?
Jan. 18 - March 27
U.S.

Hip-hop kingpins Drake and J. Cole are headed on a co-headlining tour; some Drake gigs will be J.-Cole-less.

Ana Tijoux
Jan. 18 - April 13
North America, UK, & Europe

Chilean musician Ana Tijoux hasn't undergone a world tour since 2018, but she's about to change that with a run of European gigs following the release of VIDA, her first album in several years. .

Melanie Martinez
Jan. 19 - June 27
North America, Asia & Australia

Alt-popper Melanie Martinez will segue her PORTALS Tour into The Trilogy Tour, which will see her revive her alter ego "Cry Baby." See her, in this persona, in the U.S. and across the pond.

Mitski
Jan. 26 - June 6
UK, Europe, & U.S.

Fresh off the release of The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We, Mitski has announced a jaunt across North America with Tamino, Sunny War, Julia Jacklin, and Sarah Kinsley.

Gloria Trevi: Mi Soundtrack World Tour
Jan. 26 - Sept. 22
U.S.

Known as the "Supreme Diva of Mexican Pop," Gloria Trevi is embarking on a world tour to top off the year, as she has recently announced the first leg.

Tinashe: BB/ANG3L U.S. Tour
Jan. 31 - Feb. 15
U.S.

Actress, dancer and singer Tinashe will support her new album, BB/ANG3L, with a run of mostly East Coast dates.

Militarie Gun
Jan. 31 - June 1
North America

Fresh off a tour with Scowl, hardcore-adjacent, brilliantly melodic punks Militarie Gun continue their rise with a 2024 North American tour.

Mariah The Scientist: To Be Eaten Alive Tour
Feb. 1 - May 4
UK, Europe, & U.S.

R&B favorite Mariah the Scientist has been raring to return to the stage: "I miss hearing my fans scream my lyrics at the top of their lungs. I miss seeing all their faces," Mariah told Rolling Stone. "I miss all the different cities. To my fans, I miss us. I'm so ready to eat you alive." She'll be in Europe and the U.S.

Marc Anthony: Viviendo Tour
Feb. 9 - March 9
North America

Latin and Salsa star Marc Anthony can't hide his excitement for his upcoming tour: "See you in 2024 with many moments to write about," Mark shared in his Instagram tour announcement. "We are going to live nights like no other."

Juanes: Vida Cotidiana World Tour
Feb. 13 - March 30
North America

In support of his Vida Cotidiana album, Colombian rock legend Juanes is making stops around North America to celebrate the project.

Los Angeles Azules: El Amor de mi Vida Tour
Feb. 13 - April 20
U.S.

Marking their epic return to the United States, the Cumbia sibling group are kicking off their tour in support of their upcoming album —which is set to be released this year.

Jon Batiste: UNEASY Tour
Feb. 16 - April 27
U.S.

Five-time GRAMMY winner and 20-time nominee Jon Batiste isn't known as a traditional touring act — extemporaneous solo performances and orchestral works tend to be his jam. That's what makes his upcoming North American tour so enticing — how will this consummate shape-shifter approach the headline-touring model?

Chelsea Cutler: The Beauty Is Everywhere Tour
Feb. 16 - March 30
North America

Singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and engineer Chelsea Cutler has revealed a 2024 headline tour titled The Beauty Is Everywhere Tour, in support of her new album Stellaria.

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Unlimited Love Tour
Feb. 17 - July 30
North America

The veteran rockers are still supporting 2022's Unlimited Love and Return of the Dream Canteen; in 2024, they'll go out with Kid Cudi, Ice Cube, Ken Carson, Otoboke Beaver, Seun Kuti, Wand, and Irontom.

PinkPantheress: Capable of Love Tour
Feb. 20 - April 30
North America, UK & Europe

The TikTok sensation turned pop phenomenon will head out on her Capable of Love Tour, following the release of her debut album Heaven Knows. Rising artists Bktherula and Kanii will join her.

Niall Horan
Feb. 21 - July 31
North America, Europe, & Australia

The Irish singer/songwriter has announced "THE SHOW" LIVE ON TOUR 2024 – his biggest tour yet and first headline run since 2018's Flicker world tour.

Bad Bunny - Most Wanted Tour
Feb. 21 - May 26
U.S.

Bad Bunny's Most Wanted Tour will take him across 47 dates across North America — including three shows in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.

Olivia Rodrigo: 2024 Tour
Feb. 23 - Aug. 14
UK, Europe, & U.S.

Olivia Rodrigo will make a jaunt around the world with support from the Breeders, Chappell Roan and Pink Pantheress.

Sampha: North America 2024 Tour
Feb. 23 - April 14
North America & Australia

South London singer/songwriter Sampha recently released a music video for "Can't Go Back," from his new album, Lahai. With it come North American dates for 2024.

Mon Laferte: Autopoiética Tour
Feb. 29 - June 2
U.S. & Latin America

Chilean artist Mon Laferte's new album, Autopoiética, has been released to a clamorous response. In 2024, she'll bring the music across Latin America and the U.S.

Idles
Feb. 29 - Dec. 7
North America, UK, & Europe

The purveyors of wild-eyed rock have extended their previously announced 2024 international tour with new dates across North America, Mexico, the UK, and Ireland.

Styx & Foreigner: Renegades & Juke Box Heroes Tour
March 1 - Nov. 9
North America

Don't miss this classic rock heroes together, for the last time ever. Check out dates, along with heartfelt statements from both bands.

Nicki Minaj: Pink Friday 2 Tour
March 1 - June 7
UK, Europe, & U.S.

The Harajuku Barbie is back with a new album, Pink Friday 2, which landed Dec. 8. How will tunes like "Super Freaky Girl" and "Last Time I Saw You" translate to the stage? Don't miss her North American and European tour, which stretches from late March to early June.

Danny Brown: Quaranta '24 Tour
March 3 - April 14
North America

The idiosyncratic MC is riding high off the release of his introspective new album, Quaranta. He's heading across North America in support of it.

Don Omar
March 7 - April 21
North America

The reggaeton pioneer has announced he will be back in arenas in 2024 and bringing fans "Back to Reggaeton," a 20-date trek across North America that spans the artist's decades-long career.

Judas Priest: Invisible Shield Tour
March 11 - May 22
Europe, UK, & U.S.

Metal titans Judas Priest are still going strong; they just announced a Spring 2024 U.S. tour with supporting act abaton.

Busta Rhymes
March 13 - April 21
North America

Rap heavyweight Busta Rhymes has announced his Blockbusta Tour, which will bring him across the U.S. and Canada starting in March.

Tim McGraw: 2024 Standing Room Only Tour
March 14 - June 27
U.S.

The country great's upcoming jaunt kicks off on March 14 and will stop through more than 40 cities. Carly Pearce will be a special guest.

Bleachers: From The Studio To The Stage
March 19 - June 15
U.S. & UK

In late spring and early summer 2024, the Jack Antonoff-led rockers are hitting the road in support of their self-titled new album, which arrives March 8.

Tyla
March 21 - May 28
UK, Europe, & U.S.

The unstoppable, GRAMMY-nominated R&B, amapiano singer Tyla will venture across the UK and Europe in spring 2024.

Adam Ant: ANTMUSIC Tour
March 21 - May 11
U.S.

English post-punk and new wave legend Adam Ant is headed out on his ANTMUSIC tour, his first U.S. trek in five years. The day after it wraps up, he'll appear at the Cruel World 2024 festival.

The Slackers
April 4 - April 14
North America

The revered, long-time purveyors of ska, reggae, dub and more have announced a spring tour across the US and Canada.

Alvvays: US Spring Tour 2024
April 4 - Aug. 8
North America, UK, & Europe

The indie darlings will traverse the United States in April and May, then head to Europe in late June for festival dates.

Tate Mcrae: Think Later World Tour
April 17 - Nov 21
North America, UK, Europe, & Australia

Multi-platinum singer/songwriter Tate McRae will support her second album, THINK LATER, with a world tour in 2024.

The Rolling Stones: Hackney Diamonds Tour
April 18 - July 17
North America

If the Rolling Stones' secret NYC show with Lady Gaga was any indication, the Stones' stadium run around Hackney Diamonds — their first album of new material in 18 years — will be one for the books. For now, only stateside shows have been announced, but keep your eyes peeled for an expansion.

Hozier: Unreal Unearth Tour
April 20 - Sept. 17
U.S.

Singer/songwriter Hozier is undertaking a headline tour of the UK and Ireland next summer, supporting his third album Unreal Unearth.

Alanis Morissette with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts: Triple Moon Tour
June 9 - Aug. 10
North America

Two female pioneers are hitting the road, with special guest Morgan Wade. See where they're heading in the U.S. and Canada.

Pink: Summer Carnival Tour 2024
June 11 - Nov. 23
North America, UK, & Europe

Pink will continue to support her new album Trustfall with her Summer Carnival tour, which returns to North America in 2024.

The Killers
June 12 - July 11
UK & Ireland

The Killers have reached that stage where they're looking back on the hits. Following the recent release of their best-of compilation album Rebels Diamonds, shout along at these UK and Ireland dates.

Def Leppard, Journey, Steve Miller: 2024 Summer Stadium Tour
July 6 - Sept. 8
U.S.

More oldies favorites, banding together for a U.S. stadium tour in 2024: Def Leppard and Journey will be near you soon. In select markets, Heart and Cheap Trick will also appear.

and Chicago: Heart & Soul Tour 2024
July 10 - Sept. 7
U.S.

These retro, AOR favorites are hitting the road together for the Heart & Soul Tour 2024, including an encore with both bands on stage. Check out the North American dates.

Sepultura: Farewell Tour
Oct. 30 - Nov. 23
UK & Europe

The Brazilian metal heroes are calling it quits — but not before a final trek, just in time for their 40th anniversary.

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