"Gimme Shelter" is the opening track to the 1969 album Let It Bleed by the Rolling Stones. Greil Marcus, writing in Rolling Stone magazine at the time of its release, praised the song, stating that the band has "never done anything better".
|Song by the Rolling Stones|
|from the album Let It Bleed|
|Released||5 December 1969|
|Recorded||23 February and 2 November 1969|
Although the first word was spelled "Gimmie" on that album, subsequent recordings by the band and other musicians have made "Gimme" the customary spelling.
Inspiration and recordingEdit
"Gimme Shelter" was written by the Rolling Stones' lead vocalist Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards, the band's primary songwriting team.[a] Richards began working on the song's signature opening riff in London whilst Jagger was away filming Performance. As released, the song begins with Richards performing a guitar intro, soon joined by Jagger's lead vocal. Of Let It Bleed's bleak world view, 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. People objected, and people didn't want to fight it ... That's a kind of end-of-the-world song, really. It's apocalypse; the whole record's like that.
Similarly, on NPR in 2012:
It was a very moody piece about the world closing in on you a bit ... When it was recorded, early '69 or something, it was a time of war and tension, so that's reflected in this tune. It's still wheeled out when big storms happen, as they did the other week [during Hurricane Sandy]. It's been used a lot to evoke natural disaster.
However, the song's inspiration was not initially Vietnam or social unrest, but Keith Richards seeing people scurrying for shelter from a sudden rain storm. According to him:
I had been sitting by the window of my friend Robert Fraser’s apartment on Mount Street in London with an acoustic guitar when suddenly the sky went completely black and an incredible monsoon came down. It was just people running about looking for shelter — that was the germ of the idea. We went further into it until it became, you know, rape and murder are 'just a shot away'.
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!", almost screaming the final stanza. She and Jagger then repeat the line "It's just a shot away" and finish with repeats of "It's just a kiss away". When speaking of her inclusion in the recording, Jagger stated in the 2003 book According to the Rolling Stones: "The use of the female voice was the producer's idea. It would be one of those moments along the lines of 'I hear a girl on this track - get one on the phone.'" Summoned - pregnant - from bed around midnight by producer Jack Nitzsche, Clayton made her recording with just a few takes then returned home to bed. It remains the most prominent contribution to a Rolling Stones track by a female vocalist.
At about 2:59 into the song, Clayton's voice cracks under the strain; once during the second refrain on the word "shot", then on the word "murder" during the third refrain, after which Jagger is faintly heard exclaiming "Woo!" in response to Clayton's powerful delivery. Upon returning home, Clayton suffered a miscarriage, attributed by some sources to her exertions during the recording.
Merry Clayton's name was erroneously written on the original release, appearing as 'Mary'. Her name is also listed as 'Mary' on the 2002 Let It Bleed remastered CD.
The song was recorded in London at Olympic Studios in February and March 1969; the vocals were recorded in Los Angeles at Sunset Sound Recorders and Elektra Studios in October and November that same year . Nicky Hopkins played piano, the Rolling Stones' producer Jimmy Miller played percussion, Charlie Watts played drums, Bill Wyman played bass, Jagger played harmonica and sang backup vocals with Richards and Clayton. Guitarist Brian Jones was present during the early sessions but did not contribute, Richards being credited with both rhythm and lead guitars on the album sleeve. For the recording, Richards used an Australian-made Maton SE777, a large single-cutaway hollowbody guitar, which he had previously used on "Midnight Rambler". The guitar barely survived the recording before literally falling apart. "[O]n the very last note of 'Gimmie Shelter,'" Richards told Guitar World in 2002, "the whole neck fell off. You can hear it on the original take."
Releases on compilation albums and live recordingsEdit
"Gimme Shelter" quickly became a staple of the Rolling Stones' live shows. It was first performed sporadically during their 1969 American Tour and became a regular addition to their setlist during the 1972 American Tour. Concert versions appear on the Stones' albums No Security (recorded 1997, released 1998), Live Licks (recorded 2003, released 2004), Brussels Affair (recorded 1973, released 2011), and Hyde Park Live (2013). A May 1995 performance recorded at Paradiso (Amsterdam) was released on the 1996 "Wild Horses" (live) single, on the 1998 "Saint of Me" single (included in the 45-CD 2011 box set The Singles 1971–2006), and again on Totally Stripped in 2016.
The song appeared in Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones, a film of the Stones' 1972 North American Tour, as well as on its 2010 official DVD release. It is also featured on the concert DVD/Blu-ray sets Bridges to Babylon Tour '97–98 (1998), Four Flicks (2003), The Biggest Bang (2007), Sweet Summer Sun: Hyde Park Live (2013), Totally Stripped (2016), and Havana Moon (2016).
Michel Gondry, an Academy Award-winning French filmmaker, directed a music video for the song, which was released in 1998. The video features a sixteen-year old Brad Renfro, playing a young man escaping with his brother from a dysfunctional home and the abuse they suffered at the hands of their abusive alcoholic father, and then from society as a whole.
The Rolling Stones
- Mick Jagger – lead vocals, harmonica
- Keith Richards – guitars, backing vocals
- Bill Wyman – bass
- Charlie Watts – drums
Greil Marcus, writing for Rolling Stone magazine at the time of the "Gimme Shelter"'s release stated that "[t]he Stones have never done anything better". "Gimme Shelter" was placed at number 38 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" in 2004. Pitchfork Media placed it at number 12 on its list of "The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s". Ultimate Classic Rock put the song at number one on their Top 100 Rolling Stones songs  and number three on their Top 100 Classic Rock Songs.
In popular cultureEdit
"Gimme Shelter" has been played in a variety of movies and television shows/commercials. The 1970 documentary film Gimme Shelter, directed by Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, chronicling the last weeks of the Stones' 1969 US tour and culminating in the disastrous Altamont Free Concert, took its name from the song. A live version of the song played over the documentary's credits.
|American Red Cross||"Play Your Part" public service advertising campaign in 1989|||
|Gimme Shelter (2013)|||
|The Departed (2006)|||
|That '70s Show (1998-2006)||Episode "Gimme Shelter"|||
|Air America (1990)|||
|Wild Palms (1993)|||
|Layer Cake (2004)|||
|Call of Duty: Black Ops||Trailer for the video game|||
|The Simpsons||Episode "Marge vs. Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples and Teens, and Gays", in a scene parodying Woodstock|||
|Nip/Tuck||Season 4/episode 5 ("Dawn Budge") of the FX television series|||
|Life (NBC TV series)||Episode 10, season 1 (season finale) in 2007|
|Heineken beer commercial||Featuring Brad Pitt (2008)|
|Person of Interest||Season 2, episode 10 (2012)|
|The Daily Show (2013)|||
|Hockey Night in Canada (2013)|||
|20 Feet from Stardom|||
|Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2014)|
|Covert Affairs||Episode 10, season 2|
|ABC's coverage of the 2014 Indianapolis 500|
|The Gambler (2014)|||
|Supernatural||Episode "Don't Call Me Shurley"|
|Monday Mornings (2013)||Season 1, episode 1, Pilot (2013), end of episode|||
|Dexter||Season 2, episode 5, The Dark Defender (2007)|||
|The Vietnam War (2017)||Episode 9, "A Disrespectful Loyalty", Operation Dewey Canyon III|||
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||500,000|
*sales figures based on certification alone
This section may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: May not meet WP:SONGCOVER. (June 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- Ruth Copeland on her first album Self Portrait, performed with George Clinton's Parliament, in 1969 (reissued on The Invictus Sessions in 2002)
- The original backing singer, Merry Clayton, recorded her own version in 1970 which entered the Billboard Hot 100
- Grand Funk Railroad on the album Survival in 1971; a number 61 US single
- Josefus for their album Dead Man
- Puddle of Mudd on the 2011 album Re:(disc)overed
- The Sisters of Mercy in 1983, on the B-side of their single "Temple of Love" (released on the album Some Girls Wander by Mistake in 1992). In this version the words "shot" and "kiss" were interchanged.
- The London Symphony Orchestra on the album Symphonic Music of The Rolling Stones. This version of the song is heard in the Children of Men (2006) trailer.
- Patti Smith released the song as a single from her April 2007 covers album Twelve.
- Paul Brady & the Forest Rangers covered the song for the final episode of season 2 of Sons of Anarchy. This version is available on the 5-song EP Sons of Anarchy: Shelter.
- Tom Jones recorded the song with New Model Army. It was released on his album The Definitive Tom Jones 1964-2002.
- U2 covered the song at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame benefit concert on 30 October 2009, with Mick Jagger sharing lead vocals with Bono and featuring the Black Eyed Peas members Fergie, singing Merry Clayton's vocal part, and will.i.am, playing piano and synthesizer.
- The Underachievers used the introduction of "Gimme Shelter" for the production of their 2013 single "The Proclamation"
- Stone Sour covered the song on their EP Straight Outta Burbank... with female vocals performed by Lzzy Hale of Halestorm
- Jazz vibist Cal Tjader covered the song on his 1971 album Agua Dulce.
- Holy Soldier on their 1992 album Last Train
"Putting Our House in Order" projectEdit
In 1993, a Food Records project collected various versions of the track by the following bands and collaborations, the proceeds of which went to the Shelter charity's "Putting Our House in Order" homeless initiative. The versions were issued across various formats, and had a live version of the song by the Rolling Stones as a common lead track to ensure chart eligibility.
"Gimme Shelter" (pop version – cassette single)
"Gimme Shelter" (alternative version – CD single)
"Gimme Shelter" (rock version – CD single)
"Gimme Shelter" (dance version – 12" single)
- The Mick Jagger and Keith Richards writing team is commonly referred to as the "Glimmer Twins" and has occasionally been credited as such on releases, see Jagger/Richards.
- v.d. Luft, Eric (21 September 2009). Die at the Right Time!: A Subjective Cultural History of the American Sixties. Gegensatz Press. p. 410. ISBN 978-1-933237-39-8.
- Wenner, Jann. ""Jagger Remembers"". Archived from the original on 18 May 2007. Retrieved 12 June 2007. , Rolling Stone (14 December 1995). Accessed 20 May 2007.
- "Mick Jagger On The Apocalyptic 'Gimme Shelter'". November 16, 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
- Giles, Jeff (27 October 2017). "Keith Richards Recalls Making the Rolling Stones' 'Gimme Shelter'". Ultimate Classic Rock.
- Springer, Mike. "Mick Jagger Tells the Story Behind 'Gimme Shelter' and Merry Clayton's Haunting Background Vocals Open Culture". Openculture.com. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
- Jagger, Mick; Richards, Keith; Wood, Ronnie; Watts, Charlie (2003). According to the Rolling Stones. California: Chronicle Books. p. 117. ISBN 0811869679.
- Unterberger, Richie. "Gimme Shelter". allmusic.com (2007). Accessed 20 May 2007.
- 20 Feet From Stardom - Gimme Shelter, 2016-02-12, retrieved 2017-09-03
- Snowden, Don (13 March 1986). "For Clayton, The Gloom Is Gone". Los Angeles Times.
- Jagger, M., Richards, K., "Let It Bleed." Album credits. 2002. CD.
- Rolling Stones and the Making of Let It Bleed, by Sean Egan, ISBN 1903318777 (ISBN13: 9781903318775)
- "From the Archive: The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards Looks Back on 40 Years of Making Music". Guitar World. 6 January 2012.
- "No Security | The Rolling Stones". www.rollingstones.com. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
- "Live Licks - The Rolling Stones | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
- Harris, John (2011-11-22). "Why a Rolling Stones bootleg is one of my albums of the year". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
- "Brussels Affair (Live 1973) - The Rolling Stones | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
- "Sweet Summer Sun: Hyde Park Live - The Rolling Stones | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
- Spitz, Marc. "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Rolling Stones Finally Gets the DVD Treatment". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
- "Reviewed! The Rolling Stones - Havana Moon - Uncut". Uncut. 2016-09-20. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
- Ellis-Petersen, Hannah (2016-06-07). "Lisa Fischer on life in the shadows of the Stones and Tina Turner: 'I got used to keeping quiet'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
- "Rolling Stones' 'Gimme Shelter': Did Gaga, Mary J. or Florence Sing It Best?". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
- "Lady Gaga sings 'Gimme Shelter' with The Rolling Stones at New Jersey gig". NME. 2012-12-16. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
- "Gimme Shelter [Live] - The Rolling Stones | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
- "Hot Rocks: 1964-1971 - The Rolling Stones | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
- "Forty Licks - The Rolling Stones | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
- "Buy GRRR! | The Rolling Stones". www.rollingstones.com. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
- "The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter (1998)" (Requires IE7 or newer to display with scrollbar; Gecko-based browsers (Firefox et al) do not show the scrollbar, although the page is scrollable with navigation keys). Michel Gondry: Pleasure of the Unknown. realeyz.tv. 31 December 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
- Marcus, Greil (27 December 1969). "Let It Bleed The Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
- "The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s". Pitchfork. 2006-08-18. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
- "No. 1: 'Gimme Shelter' – Top 100 Rolling Stones Songs". Ultimateclassicrock.com. 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
- "No. 3: Rolling Stones, 'Gimme Shelter' – Top 100 Classic Rock Songs". Ultimateclassicrock.com. 2012-04-30. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
- "GIMME SHELTER - Festival de Cannes". Festival de Cannes. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
- Awesome, Network (2013-02-21). "Just a Shot Away: The Rolling Stones' Gimme Shelter". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
- "The Rolling Stones: Gimme Shelter". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
- Canby, Vincent. "Movie Review - Gimme Shelter". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
- "Gimme Shelter [Video] - The Rolling Stones | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
- "The Paley Center for Media". Paleycenter.org. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
- "Vanessa Hudgens: 'I had to work on loving myself again'". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
- Ross, Charlotte (2014-10-13). "Clip joint: the Rolling Stones' Gimme Shelter". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
- Ardell, Jena (2013-02-28). "Quit Using "Gimme Shelter" In Every Damn Movie". L.A. Weekly. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
- "Wild Palms". EW.com. 1993-05-14. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
- "Michael Phelps and Danny McBride Go to Outer Space for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare". Retrieved 2017-08-06.
- Times, Music (2014-11-06). "'Call of Duty' Trailer Soundtracks: From Frank Sinatra to Eminem, AC/DC and More [WATCH]". Music Times. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
- TV.com. "The Simpsons: Marge vs. Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples and Teens, and Gays". TV.com. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
- "Music on Nip/Tuck: The best money can buy". MTV News. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
- "The Canadian Maple Syrup Syndicate-The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - Video Clip | Comedy Central". Thedailyshow.cc.com. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
- "Video: Hockey Night In Canada's Closing Montage". Retrieved 2017-08-07.
- 20 Feet From Stardom - Gimme Shelter, 2016-02-12, retrieved 2017-08-06
- "The Gambler Official Trailer #1 (2014) - Mark Wahlberg, Jessica Lange Movie HD". YouTube. 2014-11-05. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
- "Monday Mornings Soundtrack - S1E1: Pilot". Tunefind. 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
- TV.com. "Dexter: The Dark Defender". TV.com. Retrieved 2018-03-21.
- "Italian single certifications – The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
- "British single certifications – The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 23 February 2017. Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Gimme Shelter in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
- "Gimme Shelter: The Invictus Sessions - Ruth Copeland | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
- "'Gimme Shelter' Singer Merry Clayton: Just a Shot Away". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
- "Survival - Grand Funk Railroad | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
- Koda, Cub. "Dead Man". allmusic.com. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- "Puddle of Mudd Reworks Rolling Stones, Neil Young Hits for Covers Album". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
- "Gimme Shelter - The Sisters of Mercy Song - BBC Music". BBC. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
- Noble, Barnes &. "Symphonic Music of the Rolling Stones". Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
- "Patti Smith: Gimme Shelter". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 4 March 2008.
- Times, Music (2014-12-09). "'Sons of Anarchy' Finale: 6 Best Musical Moments by The Forest Rangers, Curtis Stigers and Paul Brady [LISTEN]". Music Times. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
- "The Definitive Tom Jones 1964-2002 [Box Set] - Tom Jones | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
- "Rock & Roll Hall of Fame captivates the senses with debut of Connor Theater (video)". cleveland.com. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
- "Fergie's Night Out With Mick Jagger!". Us Weekly. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
- Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (2010-12-14), U2, Mick Jagger, Fergie - "Gimme Shelter" at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Shows, retrieved 2017-08-06
- "The Rolling Stones' 'Gimme Shelter' Sampled in New Song". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
- "Hear Stone Sour and Lzzy Hale's Reverent Stones Cover". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
- "Gimme Shelter - Cal Tjader | Song Info | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
- Gimme Shelter, 2010-01-01, retrieved 2017-08-07
- "Gimme Shelter – Voice of the Beehive and Jimmy, a playlist by Wade W Wellard on Spotify". Spotify. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
- "Gimme Shelter - Tom Jones & New Model Army Song - BBC Music". BBC. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
- Gimme Shelter, 1995-09-25, retrieved 2017-08-07