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Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones

Album: Let It BleedReleased: 1969
  • This is about the political and social unrest at the time. There was the war in Vietnam, race riots, and Charles Manson. Mick Jagger sings of needing shelter from this "Storm."
  • Keith Richards wrote most of this song. He strummed the opening on an electric-acoustic guitar modeled after a Chuck Berry favorite. (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England)
  • Merry Clayton is the female vocalist. She was a Gospel singer who did backup vocals for various artists, including Ray Charles. She had a regular role on the '80s TV show Cagney and Lacey, and played a maid in the movie Maid To Order. She released her own version of this song.
  • At about the 3:04 mark, when Merry Clayton sings the high note on "Murder," you can hear Mick Jagger in the background saying "Whoo!" (thanks, Ben - Hilton, NY)
  • Jagger: "That song was written during the Vietnam War and so it's very much about the awareness that war is always present; it was very present in life at that point. Mary Clayton who did the backing vocals, was a background singer who was known to one of the producers. Suddenly, we wanted someone to sing in the middle of the night. And she was around. She came with her curlers in, straight from bed, and had to sing this really odd lyric. For her it was a little odd - for anyone, in the middle of the night, to sing this one verse I would have been odd. She was great." (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
  • "Gimme Shelter" is the title of the movie that documented The Stones 1969 tour, including the Altamont concert where a fan was stabbed by a Hell's Angels security guard. The movie was rush released in 1970 to come out before the Woodstock documentary. It was released on video in 1992, and re-released in theaters in 2000 for the 30th anniversary. George Lucas of Star Wars fame was on the crew for the movie. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
  • The Stones recorded this using old, worn out Triumph amplifiers to get a distinctive sound.
  • This has been covered by the Goo Goo Dolls, Grand Funk Railroad, and the Sisters of Mercy (who swapped the locations the words "kiss" and "shot" - "War, children, it's just a kiss away" and "Love, sister, it's just a shot away"). Patti Smith recorded it for her 2007 album Twelve. (thanks, christopher - vienna, Austria and Greg - Calgary, Canada)
  • Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese has used this song in 3 of his films: Goodfellas, Casino and The Departed. (thanks, Matthew - Hawthorne, NJ)
  • Keith Richards stated in his memoir Life (2010): "I wrote 'Gimmie Shelter' on a stormy day, sitting in Robert Fraser's apartment in Mount Street. Anita (Pallenberg) was shooting Performance at the time, not far away... It was just a terrible f--king day and it was storming out there. I was sitting there in Mount Street and there was this incredible storm over London, so I got into that mode, just looking out of Robert's window and looking at all these people with their umbrellas being blown out of their grasp and running like hell. And the idea came to me... My thought was storms on other people's minds, not mine. It just happened to hit the moment." (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
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Comments: 113

On December 6th, 1970, the movie 'Gimme Shelter' had its world premier in the U.S.A.
One week later on December 13th it premiered in the U.K.
Two covered versions have charted on Billboard's Hot Top 100; Merry Clayton (#73 in 1970) and Grand Funk Railroad (#61 in 1971).
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
As a Michigan native, I love our boys from Flint, Grand Funk Railroad, dearly, but their version of this is just awful. The whole thing just sounds muddy and rushed. Guitars are too fuzzy, bass is a jumbled mess and way too much in the foreground, and it doesn't have Merry Clayton, who just kills it on the original. Might as well have left this one alone.Anne - Sanilac County, Mi
An incredibly chilling song, full of trepidation and desperation.
That guitar intro sets the whole mood, then Mick and Merry just smoke the vocals.
Oldpink - Farmland, In
This song I can relate to in way ways. The lyrics are that during the time of the Vietnam war there were a lot of problems at home. The lyrics say it self: War, Children, Rape etc. but what I think Jagger means by "shelter" is protection or hope away from all the hell that's happening, a light from the storm.Drake - Huntington Beach, Ca
The guitars on this song are all Keith. The first recordings were made in Olympic Studios in London during February and March 1969 and before Brian Jones died - so Mick Taylor wasn't even in the band at that point (he only played on Country Honk and Live with Me on the Let it Bleed album). Merry Clayton's vocals were added in LA in October/November 1969 but none of the backing track was re-recorded from the Feb/March sessions. Mick Jagger confirmed this in 2003 when he was quoted as saying "We did Gimme Shelter in a big room at Olympic Studios, and then did the overdubs in LA with Merry Clayton. In London Keith had been playing the groove a few times on his own - although I think Brian was still around at that point; he might even have been in the studio actually - but there was no vocal. The use of the female voice was the producer's idea".Richard - Reading, United Kingdom
If all those guitar parts are Keith, then hats off! The most beautiful and haunting electric guitar sounds ever heard to this very day. And obviously played at the top of someone's heroin career. Go figure...Tom - Freiburg, Germany
This is for russ in miami springs florida.I take total offense! The opening of gimme shelter is all Keith!I even have an interview in which he staes that!Mick taylor guitar signature!PLEASE!That is vintage keith,with his genius playing!!!LET me say it again vintage Keith with his open-g tunings,and his evil leads!Sorry to be hard on you,but Mick Taylor cant hold a candle when it comes to Keith!KEITH RICHARDS RULES!Richard - Winton, Ca
I was never a big Stones fan in my younger days...what a putz I was. I think I never really listened, just heard. When I first listened to the intro to this song it made the hairs on the back of my neck go up, and that doesn't happen often. I still wonder who really played the intro, Keith or Mick Taylor. I know everyone always says it was Keith, but I hear a few things in there that I always considered as signature to Mick's guitar style. And I would cast my vote for Let It Bleed as the best Stones album. There just isn't a wasted note anywhere on the album, and I still think "You Got the Silver" is the best thing Keith ever did. FWIW, I think the best song they ever did was "Prodigal Son" on Beggars Banquet. It's probably the simplest song they ever did, and at the same time the most powerful.Russ - Miami Springs, Fl
Not a big Stones fan, but this is probably my favorite tune of theirs, mostly due to Merry Clayton's incredibly amazing vocals.Camille - Toronto, Oh
Someone told me it was Janis Joplin doing the backing vocals on this song...whatever!Zero - Nowhere, Nj
I have no idea if it's a legit take of the song or simply a mix done by someone at home, but there is an amazing version of this song that can be found on Youtube if you search something along the lines of "Rolling Stones unreleased." It's over 8 minutes long and features many of the same vocals and guitar pieces as the version we all know and love with some killer bass and some extra guitar added in for effect. Now that I think of it more, I'm almost certain it was just someone at home with Garage Band or something, but it's still awesome!David - Woburn, Ma
Keith said in his book that he wrote this one day while he was sitting in a friends house along the River Thames. While he couldn't remember if he was on heroin while he wrote it he thought that it could have been such it was so deep for him.Danny - Your Town, Ia
Merry Clayton's voice cracking is what makes this song so poignant and strong. It'd still be a great song without it, but her voice breaking up just rocks it! Two other awesome songs with the same message, and instantly recognizable, are "Iron Hand" and "Brothers In Arms" by Dire Straits. All three of these songs are so sobering and thought provoking.Rocco - Lincoln City, Or
Love Keith Richards to death though. Best musician alive!Caitlyn - Royersford, Pa
only decent stones song in my opinion. Sorry stones fansCaitlyn - Royersford, Pa
To expand on what Chelsea said, this is NOT about Vietnam; this is by Keith, about feeling betrayed by Mick as he cavorted with Anita on the set of "Performance" in the fall of 1968. What Keith had done to Brian, Mick was now doing to him, and he probably felt he had lost Anita forever (which turned out not to be the case). This is also the time at which Keith first began using heroin (and the affair was likely a contributing factor). It's a song of jealousy, hurt, fear, and anger. The chords progression is also a reworking of "Under My Thumb," which had always been a favorite of Keith's. It's undoubtedly a great song, but Jimmy Miller's production and percussion, along with Merry Clayton's soulful and blood-curdling singing cannot be overlooked, thus making the studio version the single greatest performance and recording in rock music.Dennis - Chicago, Il
Definitely one of the Rolling Stones best songs- well written and arranged. I have always thought that the opening riff was performed on an electric piano. Merry Clayton is awsome on backing vocals.Randy - Colerain Twp., Oh
My favorite song of all time; I play it daily at some point-it's my lullaby, theme song, motivation and shelter from storms. Merry is amazing as noted, but Keith's riff at the beginning made me cry when experiencing it live...cannot explain why I've connected with it for most of my life. Along with a number of other Stones' songs, it's in the DeNiro/Snipes movie "The Fan". Watch out for the red coal carpet!Tedi - West Sand Lake, Ny
I lost my voice singing this song on Rock Band and still love it!Abby - La, Ca
If I was put on an island with one song to take with me for the rest of my life, that song would be Gimme Shelter. A true masterpiece! A song I never get tire of listening to and a song that the volume goes up every time it comes on the radio and gives me goosebumbs with Keith Richards opening guitar riff. The songs best versions in my opinion are: 1. Gimme Shelter at Altamont for the pure Grunge and original base. 2. Original Studio version purest sound and crisp. 3. 1972 Live at Philli with Mick Taylor (best live guitar ever).Nick - Chicago, Il
I wasn't a huge Stones fan in the day, but looking back now over the entire body of rock and roll music, I believe this is absolutely the single best rock and roll song of all time. Great intro, timeless guitar licks, great dance beat, hard hitting, poetically brilliant anti war message, and the single most spine tingling vocal and lyric sequence ever by a mile. Merry Clayton even blew Mick Jagger away - "Woo!" It was a magical musical rock and roll moment captured on vinyl for us all to enjoy forever. (Oh, and Scott, I believe that ratchet sound is made with a Cuban Style Guiro - like a gourd with grooves that it played by hand)Jack - Cohasset, Ma
It's just one of those timeless classic rock songs that kinda 'gets all over you' when listening to it, inside and out. . .Mellonie - Fox Lake, Il
"Ooh, see the fire is sweeping our very streets today. Burns like a red coal carpet, mad bull lost its way." What a great, visual lyric! This is just an incredible song. And it has one of the things about it that the Stones always did better than anyone else back in the day: a phenomenal intro. It makes you reach for the dial and crank it up as soon as you hear the first note.Mark - Mchenry, Il
Greatest intro ever....
Others come close, but you cannot top the original.
Steve - Sioux Falls, Sd
Re: Merry Singing in a higher register - It was a Motown technique to sing the songs in a higher register for the recording (according to Tubbs of the Four Tops) because it created a further intensity to the lyric. So it wouldn't surprise me if the Stone's used that technique on there songs as well. I always wondered why Mick sounded a lot lower live or on live recordings than he does in concert (except on TV shows where he could sustain the higher pitch for the brief length of a few songs.)Giuseppi - Philadelphia, Pa
The catastrophic images of Flood and Fire are biblical and usually indicate the vengence of God to end or purge of the world. Many of the songs of the sixties had that Apocalyptic theme. The destruction of war, racism and unbridled greed and conformity, were at the forefront of the various movements of the time. Sometimes the music is apocalyptic or foreboding without having the lyric to accompany it, e.g. Paint it Black in the movie Full Metal Jacket. In the U.S., anyway, when a few national or global tragedies occur, it's time to dust off the book of Revelations and preparing for the end.Giuseppi - Philadelphia, Pa
"MERRY CLAYTON'S spine-chilling vocal in the middle of 'Gimme Shelter' is one of the most electrifying moments in rock history but you couldn't blame Clayton if hearing the Rolling Stones classic only brought back painful memories. The physical exertion of singing the part was so intense that the pregnant Clayton suffered a miscarriage after returning home from the session."
Don Snowden, Los Angeles Times, 10 March 1986
David - Louisville, Ky
I heard Merry Clayton was told to sing in an octave higher than normal and that is why her voice cracked on the higher notes. Who know, it's great it cracked. Before CDs, I wore out every Stones cassette I owned (I was only 10). There is always at least 1 Stones song included in all my favourite memories. I would play those songs in the car and I swear those Stones songs make you drive faster! Uh ... oh yeah, I was only 10, had a special permit to drive. Yeah, that's it. I't's just my opinion, but I think if 'Brown Sugar' was taken off 'Sticky Fingers', every song would make up the perfect album. But, as they stand, these are my favourites (not in any order):

1) Black & Blue
2) Sticky Fingers
3) Beggar's Banquet
4) Let It Bleed
5) Some Girls
Janette - Houston, Tx
I was in the seventh grade when GS came out, and it rocked my world. Still does. I have to agree with the one poster though -- Let It Bleed as a whole is good but over-rated, inferior to Begger's Banquet, Sticky Fingers and, of course, Exile.Martin - L.a., Ca
Good song, crazy film.Nicole - Chicago, Il
Craig, the instrument heard at 2:05 that sounds like a harmonica, is a... harmonica! Gimme Shelter is track 4 on the album; Midnight Rambler is track 3 and you can hear the same instrument (albeit less distorted) starting at just :07 into that song. And I think this is about the finest track ever cut by one of the finest bands in teh history of rock. I never tire of listening to it.Mike - Syracuse, Ny
Craig, I believe the instrument at 2:05 is a distorted slide guitar.Guy - Benson, Nc
Question:
What is the instrument that kind of sounds like a harmonica, it is first heard at 2:05
Craig - Baltimore, Md
One of the best songs ever made, this songs lyrics, sound, and passion come together and make this song so good.Dominic - Phoenix, Az
Can Merry Clayton ever belt it out...This is one of my favorite Stones songs along with Sympathy for the Devil, Can't you hear me knocking and Not fade away (which is a Bo Didley song I believe). Gimme shelter also played in the movie Adventures in babysitting. I was about 10 when I saw it. I've been a Stones fan since I was born in 1981, the year Start me up came out.Shannon - Montreal, Qc
Quite possibly the greatest song ever on a music type video game. Rock Band turned me to this song, and I have loved it since I first heard it!!! Great song!!!Andy Sturm - Indianapolis, In
This was used in the Simpsons episode "Marge vs. Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples and Teens, and Gays", when it shows babies at a "roofi" concert, set like WoodstockSam - Seattle, Wa
Emmaretta Marks was also on the track, but never got credit or got paid! And you can hear her!Lynn - Ny, Ny
UK Blues/Rock band Thunder have also produced an excellent version of this song!Lee - Glasgow, United Kingdom
This song is so awsome in so many ways.I was reading some of the comments left by other people they don't realize how great the stones are and they deservie ever penny they ever made.Ilove the beging of this song its grovyAshley - Quincy, Il
This song is so full of history...my top five for for sure. It is simply hypnotic!Konstantin - San Marcos, Tx
For me, this along with All Along The Watchtower are the quintessential songs of the sixties. I get pumped up everytime I hear this song. RAPE AND MURDER! IT'S JUST A SHOT AWAY!George - Little Rock, Ar
Scott, the percussion instrument is called a guiro, also known as a scratcher. Heres what Wiki says about it
The güiro is a percussion instrument consisting of an open-ended, hollow gourd with parallel notches cut in one side. It is played by rubbing a wooden stick along the notches to produce a ratchet-like sound. The güiro is commonly used in Latin-American music, and plays a key role in the typical cumbia rhythm section.
Bronc - Blue Balls, Canada
I know what you're talking about Scott but I don't know what it was. Sounds like a stick being run over corrugated wood...a washboard being played?Heather - Los Angeles, Ca
I don't know if anyone's gonna know what I'm talking about, but here goes. Does anyone know what's used to make that weird ratchet-like sound throughout the song? It really stands out at the beginnning and then it just becomes background noise, but it's the same throughout the whole song, so I was thinking some sort of synthesizer, but I've never heard a synth sound like that. I'll be amazed if anyone 1) knows what I'm talking about and 2) actually knows the answer.Scott - Boston, Ma
Originally the title was spelt "Gimmie Shelter" but Mick's handwriting was awful and the record company missed the "i".Scott - Boston, Ma
This song is before my time but it is SO powerful. It gives me adrenaline rushes.. Keith Richards did a great job in the beginning!Alexa - Savannah, Ga
I'm one of the dinosaurs who was a teenager when the Stones first rocked the world.Anyone who can't admit to their amazing talent is incapable of appreciating true rock and roll and tremendous talent.I once worked for another major rock star and he admitted that he wished he'd written "Miss You" by the Stones.Linda - Ocean Park, Wa
The opening is so epic, you can see why movie directors like Scorcese use it so much on their soundtracks. Also, many fighters have used it as entrance music most notably in recent UFC events.Joey - Boston, Ma
BEST song of all times! and as someone else said: the hellacopters did a great version of it!Boris Müller - Zürich, Switzerland
Oh, yeah, the Rolling Stones, worst band alive. They've only been around for 45 years, and released 50+ albums. That just sucks. Over 60 charted songs, Weak!

Hey Carol, the Rolling Stones are worth more than your life. They've got more talent in their crap than you will ever have.
I hope they outlive you.
Joe - Palos Heights, Il
A very great song. The version on the "unplugged" movie of the Stones is the best. That's the movie where they play : Like a Rolling Stone and acoustic versions of Let It Bleed, Wild Horses, ... with the beautiful Lisa Fisher singing the middle verse.R - Montreal, Qc, Canada
I love this song very very much from the first time I ever heard it (and that was in 1969, when I was 15....)Huldrich - Saland, Switzerland
Amazing song, one of the best of all time and by the greatest band in the world. Let It Bleed was one of the best Stones albums ever, up there with Sticky Fingers. And Carol, from Springfield, go play in traffic.Georgia - Wanganui, New Zealand
We only had 3 records in Vietnam, This one and Zep 2 Don't rem the other. I used to do a air drum to the da da daddada cymbal part- Thanks for lovin it, too. Oh yeah, Mary Clayton voice crack-wow.Steve - Lexington, Ky
A very inspirational song...one fo my favoritesAdam - Sparta, Wi
The original studio version of this song is the greatest rock song ever recorded.John - Cali, South America
B E S T S O N G E V E RPhil - Fakeville, Canada
I have always been more of a Beatles fan than
a Stones fan but the Stones are a close second.
And this is perhaps their greatest song of all.
As someone else said -- it never gets old. The
arrangement is top-notch, the rhythm hypnotic,
and Merry Clayton's singing: as Mick said "Whoo!"
A great song from a great album and a great band."Gimme Shelter"gets in your blood and stays
there.
Ron - Reno, Nv
"Gimme Shelter" may not be about the Vietnam War per se, but the haunting guitar riffs at the beginning perfectly capture the feeling of one's own impending death during what we combat veterans from the period knew as "vertical envelopment," a helicopter assault. As the song continues, the refrain "It's just a shot away!" speaks volumes about the foot soldier's tragic philosophy for coping with sudden death. It's been almost 40 years since I trudged through Quang Tri province, doing the bidding of LBJ, MacNamara, and Westmoreland, but that song still takes me right back there, as if it were yesterday. Songs like "Gimme Shelter" keep many young people from being conned into running off to war for glory that doesn't exist.Bill - Queens, Ny
i love this song it represents the 60s perfectlyElie - London
Martin Scorsese loves this song... He's used in three of his biggest films, Goodfellas, Casino, and The Departed. More info on The Departed Soundtrack here: http://thedeparted.net/the_departed_soundtrack.htmlTim - Detroit, Mi
No song captures the late '60s like this one. One of the best intros ever, too. By far the Stones' best.Jimmy - Graniteville, Ri
The album itself is overrated but gimme shelter is the greatest rock and roll song ever written. People always compare the stones and beatles and i dont think the beatles ever sang anything as powerful as this one sounded. Merry Clayton just gives you goosebumps when she cries rape! murder! are just a shot away....... This song is amazing!!!Brian - Poplar Bluff, Mo
They used this in Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam. Learned more about Vietnam from that movie than I ever did in history class, very fitting soundtrack too.Travis - Waterloo, Ny
Sympathy For The Devil and Gimme Shelter are the best two best songs I have ever heard in my lifetime. Nothin' else approaches them on an overall basis. I'm almost the same age as The Stones, and it amazes me they can still belt them out. Keep on keepin' on, Keef & Mick!Blanco - Torre Del Diablo, Wy
TRULY one of the greatest songs everrrrrrrr...I am never tired of hearing it!!Nicole - Hampstead, Nc
Just saw this live at the Stones' concert in Shanghai! What an amazing night, and this just sweetened the deal! From all the dvd performances I've seen of this, last Saturday's performance was the only one in which I thought Lisa Fischer came anywhere close to Merry Clayton's heart-wrenching howling. Also, I just read somewhere that Keith's guitar fell apart on the last note on the recording of this song... he says you can even hear it on the original recording.Sam - Shanghai, China
Whoever in their sane mind could say Let it Bleed was horrendous? It is one of the best albums ever made and if you think it's horrendous you clearly have no idea what you're talking about. Every single song is brilliant.

Especially this one.
Brittany - Vancouver, Canada
'e' im not sure what your thinking but this song and album are greatKyle - Vancouver, Canada
yeah seriously, let it bleed "horrendous"?? are you insane? besides gimme shelter, it's got love in vain, live with me, midnight rambler... ahh hell, the whole album's incredible!Sam - Shanghai, China
Best Stones song off what could be their best album. Excellent guitar work, fits perfectly with the song.Jimmy - Troy, Ny
"Horrendous album"?!?! What kind of a tone deaf idiot could listen to this album and say that? "Let it Bleed" is far and away the best rock album ever made.Keith - Front Royal, Va
This is my favorite Stones song. Very catchy and excellent intro.Chris - Sunnyvale, Ca
i love thus song it is verry powerfull and it shows the anger and the crazy that was the 60sElie - The U.k, England
Love this song, but my favorite version is the Live in London Concert where Tina Turner sings the Merry Clayton part. It's hard to imagine, but her voice is even stronger, harder, more desolate, wild in fear and longing than Clayton's. She holds one note so long, taking it higher and higher, that the audience spins completely out of control . . . I too, am a relative 'oldster' to be posting to this site, as I was a preteen in the midst of the confusion of the late sixties . . . when the Hell's Angels killing was shown on the evening news, it freaked my parents out . . .Nora - Philadelphia, Pa
This song features in the film "Layer Cake"David - Merseyside, England
Im seeing lots of movie references but people seem to be missing the most important one. This song plays during the "Things are goin to s-it montague" For the movie Casino.Rory - Victoria, Canada
A great haunting song. When Mary Clayton screams "rape! murder! It's just a shout away!" the hairs on my arms raise. The live version from the 72/73 tours are definitive.Brick Bradford - L.a., Ca
Best stones song. Rock onFloyd - Dallas, Tx
favourite EVER song..Merry Clayton is mega...another interesting version (but not as good as the Stones of course!) is Kathy Mattea on an album called "right out of nowhere".Jeremy - Belfast, Ireland
I have just bought two tickets for the Mexico´s concert. I am really excited to know I will certainly hear the best song the stones ever made: Gimme Shelter.Homero - Monterrey , Mexico
This song was also featured in the 1990 movie "Air America" starring Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr. Kinda of a silly movie in my opinion, but worth mentioning.Nate - Atherton, Ca
Let It Bleed is so NOT a horrendous album -- Just with Gimme Shelter, You Can't Always Get What You Want, and Monkey Man -- you have a fantastic core -- for a very good album.Joe - Clifton, Nj
it is now Fri, 9-10-2005 12:44PM where i live, on tuesday the stones were in town and i went to go see them. I was REALLY REALLY hoping to see/hear this song, but i didn't hear sh*t except for candy rock, sold out ass shi*t. man i was RUDELY disapointed. the best song was jumpin jack flash. when the stones do a concert, they should do it as a clear depiction of who they are/and were. they are a legendary band because of their old songs mostly, like pre-1970 then they turned to like a pop-emotional commercial band, they quit the blues. But i love this song, it just gets so heavy and thick, im 17 in 2005, but i wish i was 17 in 1967, but this song *seems* to the best of my knowledge clearly depict the times ofd the late 60's, i can just feel the violence and hot-blodedness sp? through this song, not through songs like start me up, brown sugar, emotional rescue GARBAGE GARBAGE GARBAGE!Lukas - Maja Pogin, Mn
This is the only good song off of a horrendous album.E - Vancouver, Canada
The most beautiful electric guitar work ever recorded - period. If I am not mistaken, this was at Richards' peak of his heroin career.Tom - Freiburg, Germany
The Grand funk Version was terrible.Clint - Pelham, Al
In fact, its #38 in Rolling Stone ;)Jo-c - Lima, Peru
Yes, it does strongly suggest the social unreast of 1960's America to me - but, musically or lyrically, I couldn't say why. That opening part is haunted. Wow - such a musically articulate song from such a stoner.Wes - Springfield, Va
Saw the Stones live in Brisbane and they played this, my favorite Stones song ever.Dave - Brisbane, Australia
In my opinion, this is the best rock song, by far, ever conceived or recorded. I was 22 when it came out, trying to stay out of the draft, and the Stones were my favorite band by a million miles. The intro to this, with Keith laying down such beautiful licks, and then, in a kind of spiraling fashion, the band layering in until they all just start to GO OFF collectively, then that little bridge right before Mick starts to sing... Jeez, I've heard it a thousand times and it still makes the hair on my neck stand up. The lyrics, the singing, the musicianship (I mean, Charlie and Bill are AS ONE on this track, and Keith isn't even pretending to be working on the same planet as the rest of us), the production, the arrangement, the WHOLE THING! It's beyond a masterpiece. Yah, Merry Clayton, she's great, but Mick's greater, yah. It's really kind of funny: the Beatles had completely tubed out by this time, probably because John was so pissed about having to play on Paul's silly little nursery rhymes, with George feeling the same, and then here come the Stones, taking off into the sky like there's no tomorrow (and for all we knew back then , there wasn't!) Oh man, it's so great to think back on it, and it's so great to listen to their stuff now. (I know people my age (57) don't much bother sending in comments onto sites like this, but it's fun for me to do so, and even more fun to see that some of the younger crowd are listening to this fantastic music).Richard - Bastrop, Tx
The reason this song is so popular is because of the minor chord progression of the chorus. See Ziggy Stardust and Stairway to Heaven for the same chord formula.Sam - Boise, Id
This is #37 in Rolling Stone's list of 500 greatest songs.Ross - Independence, Mo
Merry Clayton is great on this song, but it's great without her too--- there's a bootleg floating around out there of the same studio version with a scratch vocal from Jagger before Merry Clayton added her parts. I wouldn't say it's better than the released version but it's pretty damn good. Definately worth hearing just to hear Jagger's different inflections on the words. You can hear how the song developed. There's also a great rough version of "Sway" out there.Shawn - Lansing, Mi
great song1 One of those ones you can turn up and rock out to when you're in the car! The live rersion rocks too1Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc
Uh there was also a very little known woman named a Johanna Dean who did a cover of this song but died earlier of an overdose.The only copy ive heard of is one my parents had but it got stolen.Not many ways to prove my statement other than my word,but she was from Knoxville,Tennesee not far from my town.I hear it is a beautiful verison.Brandon - Morristown, Tn
this song was used in the tv show knight rider. second season with the tiltles goliath and goliath returns. was used for garthes themes.Tony - Manitowoc, Wi
if you listen carefully at the point when Merry Clayton's voice cracks you can hear someone in the studio yell "whoo"Simon - Vancouver, Canada
Live version is pretty good.Rayne - Orcutt, Ca
Best song I've ever heard. Deep lyrics by Keith.Jo-c - Lima, Peru
Probably at the top of my list of all time favorites. Best played loud while driving fast. I love how Merry Clayton sings her solo with such force that her voice cracks.Donna - Atlanta, Ga
this song, gimme shelter is considered by most critics to be one of the best rock tunes ever penned by any band. the stones outdid themselves here and charlie watts puncuated drumming cuts through like a hot knife in better.Mark - Tucson, Az
The Hellacopters do an amazing cover of this. Definetly worth checking outMatt - Moose Jaw, Canada
One of the best the Stones have ever done. This rocks live!Frank - Staten Island , Ny
Believe it or not, a rather poignant and meaningful song from Keith Richards. Still one of my favorite songs ever... Incredible back-up vocals from Clayton.Ben - New York, Ny
Love, love, love, love this song!!!Katie - Australia
The Inspiral Carpets did a cover of this, which was released on their Peel Sessions CD.John - Seattle, Wa
Immortalized by director Martin Scorsese twice: in both Goodfellas and Casino.Michael - Oceanport, Nj
Grand Funk's version of "Gimme Shelter" was the final track on the 1971 LP "Survival".David - Gosford, Australia
Im fairly sure that Merry Clayton also did backup vocals for Marilyn Manson on his album "Mechanical Animals"...I could be wrong...but I hope I'm not because she and manson both kick assJoseph - Manteca, Ca
Supposedly written by Keith while he was waiting on Anita outside of the set of the filming of the ovie "Performance". The sexscenes between Jagger and Anita seem to have been pretty "real" and Keith refused to enter the set. He sat out in the car, fuming and playing guitar.
merry Clayton came in to overdub her vocals. She did a few lines and Jagger and Keith were ecstatic. But she refused to record anything until she got paid.
Chelsea - Nyc, Or
Grand Funk Railroad did a version of this that did not chart well. It can be found on many of their compilation releases.Jared - Meadville, Pa