The Rolling Stones have released their first new song in eight years. Unlike everything else they've done in the last three decades, it's bang up to date. It even references the coronavirus crisis.

How did they manage to record it?

It was laid down, as music biz types say, a year ago in LA but production was finished in lockdown, "via satellite" according to guitarist Keith Richards. Which sounds very space age but was probably no more than a couple of fuzzy Zoom video calls.

What's it about?

Sir Mick Jagger said it was "written about being in a place which was full of life, and then now that's bereft of life". Which is spookily prescient with our current predicament. I wonder if he can foretell the lottery numbers, too?

Give us a taste of the lyrics?

"Life was so beautiful, now we all got locked down / Feel like a ghost, living in a ghost town."

Sounds a bit like the Specials' Ghost Town?

Not really. It's more of a bluesy tune with a reggae undertone. A Guardian review gave the song four stars and hailed it as their “best in years”, praising it for its “appealingly sleazy” sound. The NME was less keen – calling it a "rushed and half-baked comment on our current predicament".

How does the new song measure up to the Stones’ classics from their heyday?

It's no Gimme Shelter or Satisfaction, or even Start Me Up.

Is this a comeback?

Although Living In A Ghost Town is the first original song the band have released since two new tracks, Doom and Gloom and One More Shot, on their 2012 Greatest Hits album Grrr! they've never really gone away. Their current world tour, No Filter, which had to be suspended due to the virus, actually started in 2017. The rock 'n' roll pensioners, who formed the Stones in 1962, back when Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister, have a combined age of 302. Which is a great advert for hard living, when you think about it.

Will the tour resume?

Jagger said: "We don't know when the next tour outside's going to be. You would imagine that playing outside would be more healthy than playing inside, but you don't know... This is all in the realm of conjecture." The Stones played on the One World: Together At Home concert last Saturday, when they played together from four separate locations.

Where can I hear the song?

Probably via satellite.

It's not just the Stones, is it?

Bob Dylan, who hadn’t released an original song since 2012, released a new tune called Murder Most Foul late last month to great excitement. At 17 minutes long, it was certainly value for money.

So the old ones are the best?

Perhaps, though young Scottish neo-folkster Gerry Cinnamon's new album The Bonny is attracting good reviews.

Garry Scott