Gimme Shelter (1969)- The Rolling Stones

I’m not a big Stones fan, but I’m a fan of this track. As seen below Gimme Shelter was used brilliantly in Scorsese’s The Departed film. Warning: This movie extract contains disturbing scenes and offensive language.
My blogger friend Max (at Powerpop) and I were just discussing Scorsese’s application of music in films at his post of Harry Nilsson – Jump Into the Fire and how it was incorporated into Goodfellas.
Gimme Shelter was the opening track off The Rolling Stones 1969 album Let It Bleed and covers topics of war, murder, rape and fear. Rolling Stone (the magazine) praised it saying ‘The band has never done any thing better‘. The song has been placed on the best of lists of acclaimed music.

Ooh, a storm is threatening
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Ooh yeah I’m gonna fade away

War, children
It’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
War, children
It’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away

Gimme Shelter was written by Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith. Richards, the band’s primary songwriting team. Jagger said in a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone magazine:
Well, it’s a very rough, very violent era. The Vietnam War. Violence on the screens, pillage and burning. And Vietnam was not war as we knew it in the conventional sense. The thing about Vietnam was that it wasn’t like World War II, and it wasn’t like Korea, and it wasn’t like the Gulf War. It was a real nasty war, and people didn’t like it.

At the time of writing Gimme Shelter, Jagger was in a film with Richard’s then girlfriend Anita Pallenberg. Richards wrote in his biography that the tension of the song was inspired by his jealousy at seeing the relationship between Pallenberg and Jagger, and his suspicions of an affair between them.

The recording features guest vocals by Merry Clayton, recorded at a last-minute late-night recording session during the mixing phase, arranged by her friend and record producer Jack Nitzsche.
After the first verse is sung by Jagger, Merry Clayton enters and they share the next three verses. A harmonica solo by Jagger and guitar solo by Richards follow. Then, with great energy, Clayton repeatedly sings “Rape, murder! It’s just a shot away! It’s just a shot away!

Gimme Shelter: Wikipedia

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Posted in Music
6 comments on “Gimme Shelter (1969)- The Rolling Stones
  1. I’m a big fan of the Rolling Stones, and this is probably my all-time favorite song from them.

  2. A great video extract but I shall be avoiding the movie like the plague. I screamed with terror enough just watching the clip.

  3. Badfinger (Max) says:

    Matt I thought I commented on this…this morning. Merry Clayton is the star of this one to me…she makes it sound so powerful.

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