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The Rolling Stones — Gimme Shelter
Album: Let It Bleed
Avg rating:
8.9

Your rating:
Total ratings: 4542









Released: 1969
Length: 4:28
Plays (last 30 days): 2
(''Ooh-ooh-ooh'')
(''Ooh-ooh-ooh'')
(''Ooh-ooh-ooh'')
(''Ooh-ooh-ooh'')

Ooh, a storm is threatnin'
My very life today
If I don't get some shelter
Oh 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 (''Yeah'')

Ooh, see the fire is sweepin'
Our very streets today
Burns like a red coal carpet
Mad bull, lost its way

War, children, yes
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 (''Yeah'')

(''Rape, murder'')
(''It's just a shot away, it's just a shot away'')
(''Rape, murder, yeah'')
(''It's just a shot away, it's just a shot away'')
(''Rape, murder'')
(''It's just a shot away, it's just a shot away, yeah yeah'')

Mmm, the floods is threatnin'
My very life today
Gimme, gimme shelter
Or I'm gonna fade away

War, children
It's just a shot away, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

I tell you love, sister
It's just a kiss away, it's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away, it's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away, kiss away, kiss away, yeah
Comments (810)add comment
 slikr wrote:

goose bumps = 10



yes - every single time I hear this song
 tonyjory wrote:

The all-time best rock n roll track? 
Tony Jory, London & Somerset, England.



It was merely a curiosity the first time I heard it, but now every time I listen it gets closer to being one of my all-time favorite tracks.  The lyrics get under your skin.  This should be the new national anthem for the decades to come, only because the planet itself doesn't have one.  
11
Still as marvellous as it was in '69.
To all rock bands in the world:

We wish you a Merry Clayton!

The all-time best rock n roll track? 
Tony Jory, London & Somerset, England.
 bbout1967 wrote:
in the doc "20 feet from stardom" they play just Clayton's backing vocal in the original studio that she sung it.....it is haunting!!!

That documentary is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of popular music.
I love the skewed distribution on the ratings. What a song, 10 for me.
Generally considered the best song they ever wrote Yep. I agree. See best versions in 1973 timeframe
quite likely the greatest song in the history of Rock and Roll
 Relayer wrote:
Some sad facts about Merry Clayton:
Clayton had a miscarriage upon returning home from recording "Gimme Shelter", according to the Los Angeles Times.

On June 16, 2014, Clayton was severely injured in a car collision. Both of Clayton's legs were later amputated at the knees due to her suffering "profound trauma to her lower extremities" as a result of the accident.
Good Lord, this is awful - she was my favorite part of the song...made it raw

Saw "20 Feet From Stardom" and she was amazing. Would never have known about the rest.
wow

these guys sound like the foo fighters

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
Very tough to listen to this the day before inauguration. How far have we really come since 1968? I hope our democracy survives tomorrow, and a new, better decade will begin and be sustained.
Some sad facts about Merry Clayton:
Clayton had a miscarriage upon returning home from recording "Gimme Shelter", according to the Los Angeles Times.

On June 16, 2014, Clayton was severely injured in a car collision. Both of Clayton's legs were later amputated at the knees due to her suffering "profound trauma to her lower extremities" as a result of the accident.
 lizardking wrote:

I've got this one rated at 10, so I can't disagree much, right? And not having been alive when this came out but alive when we still were afraid of the RUSSIANS (wait....that's still a thing, ain't it?) blowing us up with atomic weapons, this tune does rock and it's a great history lesson too....so yeah...top 10ish works for me ;-) Long Live RP and Learning to Love the Bomb (where's Dr. Strangelove at lately?) 
 
Swigging bleach with His Royal Orange Insanity?

On a more positive note... Hawkwind do an excellent cover of this.
Me and the howlers are dancing to this in Uvita, CR... 
 gillespp wrote:
#1 or #2 rock song of all time.
 
I've got this one rated at 10, so I can't disagree much, right? And not having been alive when this came out but alive when we still were afraid of the RUSSIANS (wait....that's still a thing, ain't it?) blowing us up with atomic weapons, this tune does rock and it's a great history lesson too....so yeah...top 10ish works for me ;-) Long Live RP and Learning to Love the Bomb (where's Dr. Strangelove at lately?) 
#1 or #2 rock song of all time.

Music journalist Nick Kent attached to Richards Lord Byron's epithet of "mad, bad, and dangerous to know".

 
On_The_Beach wrote:
The indestructible KEEF turns 74 today!!

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/e1/d9/78/e1d9782b67a7c23b5d1deab6a10999a5.jpg
 

4th or 5th time hearing this in the last couple days. 2 - 3 times here, the rest on my pod.  Some Stones gets old FAST.  This will NEVER get old.  11 all the way. 
 Rico_55555 wrote:
WOW! The greatest opening song on maybe the best rock album of all time. Musically abstract--multiple layers of sound going on here all channeled through a vibrant, cocksure, sophiticated rhythum guitar. This one is a real gifted work of songwriting--genius in the world of rock music. Don't miss it. PLAY IT LOUD!
 

One of the most awesome intros in rock.
One of best songs ever written.. An almost impossible to top 10 no question. In a few hundred years time this will be used in space war movies in some futuristic hover helicopter thingy scene.
 peters.holz236 wrote:
Das beste was die Stones gemacht haben ....Mein absoluter Lieblingssong..
 
Yes! {#Bananajam}
1969 +/- 5 Jahre - in musikalischer Hinsicht kommt dem nichts nahe, denke ich.

1969 and plus/minus 5 years - in music there is no compromise, I think.
A housemate came back from NYC December 69,
The new release,
dropped the needle,

AAAAHHH 

 NUFF  SAID.
 hayduke2 wrote:
MerryClaytonHWOFDec2012.jpg

Merry Clayton you are Fantastic!

This song is phenominally awesome   : )      Rock On  
 
in the doc "20 feet from stardom" they play just Clayton's backing vocal in the original studio that she sung it.....it is haunting!!!
 Tomasni wrote:
Thank you  The Rolling Stones   for
Gimme Shelter


a STRONG 8 for me


 
Can we tempt you with a 9- Outstanding yet? I've got this at Godlike, a SOLID 10 for this track, summing up the sentiment of the time it was released, and hell if it's not still relevant. Sumabitch.
Long Live RP!!
Das beste was die Stones gemacht haben ....Mein absoluter Lieblingssong..
Thanks again

Sure not hearing this on the radio anywhere nowadays.
Best Stones song and one of the best rock and roll songs ever.
Is this the Smashing Pumpkins?

I mean the vocals are the same. The guitar playing is the same. The drumming is the same. The harp playing is the same. The background female vocals are the same. The hooks are same. The unforgettable lyrics are the same. 


OK....I stop laughing now.
I like to picture the Stones sitting around the studio listening to this song as they recorded it with big shit eating grins on their faces saying "Yeah we freaking nailed it".
... this is for my uncle who died much too early and who made me aware of music like this. I miss you and think of you every day.
If you haven't seen Twenty Feet From Stardom, it features the background singer on this song (Merry Clayton) and is very worthwhile to watch. https://twentyfeetfromstardom.com
I think this is the best Stones song, and really one of the most iconic and evocative of its time.
My absolute favorite Rock.

 
 GTT wrote:
Strange, but I had never read (or understood most of the) lyrics to this song until just now.  It was always one of my favorites, but now I really think it is my favorite rock n roll song of all time.

 
Which causes me to make a confession: I always heard this as "it's just a shout away," and somehow that seemed to work also.
Now that I know it's "shot" well that's more literal. War - it's just a shot away. And because I went these many years thinking the other way, it will probably always be informed by both, for me.
The indestructible KEEF turns 74 today!!

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/e1/d9/78/e1d9782b67a7c23b5d1deab6a10999a5.jpg
Update 2021, Keith will be 78 in December!


Thanks Bill and Rebecca for remembering to play the classics.

I don't mean necessarily the general term "classic rock" ... I'm talking about the classics.... like Gimme Shelter.

Need to hear a bit more of the music that framed our generation

cheers.



                            
                                                             Poster included with original release
                                                                    

                                                                       

Recorded  on February 23, 1969. 
Merry Clayton's vocals were added on November 2 1969. 
Released on Let It Bleed, on December 5, 1969 and at first titled "Gimmie Shelter".

Lead Vocals & Harmonica:
 Mick Jagger 
Electric Guitars:
 Keith Richards 
Drums: Charlie Watts
Bass: Bill Wyman  
Vocal Solo Merry Clayton 
Backing Vocals: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards & Merry Clayton 
Piano: Nicky Hopkins 
Percussion (Guiro): Jimmy Miller 
 

Gimme Shelter 
(M. Jagger/K. Richards)

Oh, a storm is threat'ning 
My very life today 
If I don't get some shelter 
Oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away

War, children, it's just a shot away 
It's just a shot away 

Ooh, see the fire is sweepin' our very street today 
Burns like a red coal carpet, mad bull lost its way

War, children, it's just a shot away 
It's just a shot away 

Rape, murder! 

It's just a shot away 

The floods is threat'ning my very life today 
Gimme, gimme shelter, or I'm gonna fade away

War, children, it's just a shot away 
It's just a shot away 

I tell you love, sister, it's just a kiss away 
It's just a kiss away 
It's just a kiss away 
It's just a kiss away 
It's just a kiss away 
Kiss away, kiss away ~



 


More Awesome than AWESOME!
 MORE HUMAN THAN HUMAN!
 On_The_Beach wrote:

Well, except for this one, of course!:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfVsfOSbJY0

 
HA!!!  That's too funny!
MerryClaytonHWOFDec2012.jpg

Merry Clayton you are Fantastic!

This song is phenominally awesome   : )      Rock On  
 arcs_n_sparks wrote:
Thank you again for playing the best song every written!
 
Well, except for this one, of course!:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfVsfOSbJY0
Thank you again for playing the best song every written!
goose bumps = 10
{#Dancingbanana}    {#Drummer}     {#Motor}
 arcs_n_sparks wrote:
Still the best song ever...

 
I sure can't argue with that statement.
Play it again, Bill. 

Oh, wait, I can do that myself. Get me iTunes cranked to public nuisance level.  
how would anyone rate this under 10?
Watts gets it right every time, start to finish.
 
Germany, 5 o'clock in the morning.

Time to wake up, everyone.  
Sorry.
Just can't help myself cranking the guts out of this.

Still the best song ever...
This tune truly stands the test of time...pity that the message is still so fitting.
 phlattop wrote:

it seems like his role in the band has been under rated for a long time. It would be interesting to know more about his contributions.

 
Judging by the commenters on these boards, nothing (i.e. Taylor being underrated) could be further from the truth.  He is/was an extremely melodic guitar player and Keith Richards loved what he brought to the band.

Mick Taylor does not appear on this track.  He did do overdubs on two tracks from this album but became a full fledged member of the band with the following album, Sticky Fingers.  Lack of song writing credits and the bands fierce touring schedule lead to his exit from the band and his subsequent replacement by Ronnie Wood.

That being said, none of those great 69-75 songs would cease to exist without Taylor (they might not have been quite as good, but they all would still have been hits). 

Strange, but I had never read (or understood most of the) lyrics to this song until just now.  It was always one of my favorites, but now I really think it is my favorite rock n roll song of all time.
my ringtone - it always rocks in my trouser pocket when you call me so call me ;-)
 phlattop wrote:

it seems like his role in the band has been under rated for a long time. It would be interesting to know more about his contributions.

 
I never get tired of listening to Gimme Shelter. Everything about it works - including Jagger's harmonica and of course Merry Clayton's vocals.

For a long time I thought that Mick Taylor played the lead on this track however, the guitars on this track are all Keith's. The first recordings were made in Olympic Studios in London during February and March 1969 (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. 

Kudos to Keith for this great work!
this song makes me want to get better speakers {#Dancingbanana_2}
Simply...perfect.
Mary Clayton makes this song what it is, a powerful anti-war hymn.
 medoras wrote:
Many (including myself) believe Mick Taylor was there at the height of the band’s achievements.

A great guitarist and a great legacy.

 
it seems like his role in the band has been under rated for a long time. It would be interesting to know more about his contributions.
 ScottN wrote:
dionysius wrote:
The dread, the apocalypse of the late sixties captured in one stupendous track on one stupendous record album (Let It Bleed, by the way—everyone needs to own it!). I stand—or sit—in slack-jawed amazement that never grows old or stale, when it plays on radio or on my stereo. The Stones have never surpassed this song, though they may have equaled it from time to time in the late sixties or early seventies. Shivers down my spine....
Every now and then I bump this great comment from years ago . Thanks Dionysius.

 
That's a great comment. I think the fact it captured the turmoil of the period is what elevates it as their best song. I'm hard pressed to come up with a better one from them. Can't you hear me knocking, Monkey man, You Can't always get..., Jumping Jack Flash (and I'm probably forgetting one or two others) are just a hair under this one.
Many (including myself) believe Mick Taylor was there at the height of the band’s achievements.

A great guitarist and a great legacy.
10 10 10 
Somehow I've managed to get to 50 without ever hearing this song until now!

Wikipedia says that Mojo included it in the top 10 most used songs in film scores and advertising - all I remember is one ad (automotive industry, I think) that used the intro and even then I'm not sure how I worked out that it was Gimme Shelter.

Can any of the Brit listeners comment? Was there any reason why this was rarely played on Radio 1 during the 70s and 80s?

I did manage to pick up many other bands' noteworthy album tracks just by listening to the radio. Amazing that this one slipped through the net.
 rabaak wrote:
Never been a Stones fan. But this is one of the few songs of theirs that is good even after all the over playing in the last 40 + years

 
yep, this is a rare one
This is such a beautiful song.
I'm not even a big Stones fan, but this is a 10 and maybe #1 all time rock song.
dionysius wrote:
The dread, the apocalypse of the late sixties captured in one stupendous track on one stupendous record album (Let It Bleed, by the way—everyone needs to own it!). I stand—or sit—in slack-jawed amazement that never grows old or stale, when it plays on radio or on my stereo. The Stones have never surpassed this song, though they may have equaled it from time to time in the late sixties or early seventies. Shivers down my spine....
Every now and then I bump this great comment from years ago . Thanks Dionysius.
Best rock song ever?
I think we can safely say it's in the running.
Oh, well, I've already voted "Godlike."
Like
The Stones, dude! {#Dancingbanana_2}
If you haven't yet, check out the documentary "20 Feet from Stardom" on Netflix or equivalent. I'm ashamed to say I hadn't given much thought to the "background singers" prior to watching it... now I know better.
Never been a Stones fan. But this is one of the few songs of theirs that is good even after all the over playing in the last 40 + years
 ScottN wrote:
 RedGuitar wrote:
It's worth a listen just to hear Merry Clayton in the middle, howling "Rape, Murder, it's just a shot away," at times her voice cracking.  But what a performance!  By the whole band, too.  I think that was Mick Taylor on lead guitar.

Keith Richards, officially anyway, played all the guitar parts on this recording.  The elaborate studio production is one reason why they have, in my experience, never played it very well live. 
 
Au contraire, this is one of their best live songs.  It sure sounded good on the Plains of Abraham back in July.  Lisa Fisher really brings out Mary Clayton's original vocals in every performance.

Keith Richards indeed played both the rhythm and lead guitar portions of this classic "officially" and in reality.
The greatest of all rock tracks. The Stones' own favourite.....if I remember correctly.
I have 2500 tracks in "My Best" list and I avoid getting sick of any of them by playing each one only three times a year. 
 treatment_bound wrote:
I used to love this song, and now I'm really sick of it.  I bet if everybody just gave it about a "three year rest", I'd like it again. 

Can somebody please make that happen?

 
What would we do for 3 years?
Mick Jagger:

 “When we got to Los Angeles and we were mixing it, we thought, ‘Well, it’d be great to have a woman come and do the rape/murder verse,’ or chorus or whatever you want to call it,” said Jagger. “We randomly phoned up this poor lady in the middle of the night, and she arrived in her curlers and proceeded to do that in one or two takes, which is pretty amazing. She came in and knocked off this rather odd lyric. It’s not the sort of lyric you give anyone–‘Rape, murder/It’s just a shot away’–but she really got into it, as you can hear on the record.”
 
Truly one of the Stones top 3 tunes. When I was a teenager back in the late 70s/early 80s, the most played stones songs were "Satisfaction", "Jumping Jack Flash", "Sympathy", "You Can't Always Get...". This one was 5th or 6th. Now, I'd say it's the most commonly played (with "Sympathy" a close second). I wonder why. The only reason I can think of is it's probably been used in a movie soundtrack.
Once again, playing the best song ever written. 
 Hannio wrote:
Merry Clayton's performance in this still gives me goose bumps after all these years. 

 
Me too.  I always stop to listen to HER.  Wow.
Merry Clayton's performance in this still gives me goose bumps after all these years. 
Has to one of the best songs for the top 5 all time greats.I don't even like the stones emough to buy a record.
 iloveradio wrote:
{#Bananajam}I love this song, this whole damn record. I give it a 10.

 
Absolutely a 10!
The staying power of the Rolling Stones' music is astounding.
Wow...these guys sure sound alot like the Smashing Pumpkins and Arcade Fire.

These guys (whoever they are) are just a bunch of copycats following a formula.  
 ScottN wrote:
 RedGuitar wrote:
It's worth a listen just to hear Merry Clayton in the middle, howling "Rape, Murder, it's just a shot away," at times her voice cracking.  But what a performance!  By the whole band, too.  I think that was Mick Taylor on lead guitar.

Keith Richards, officially anyway, played all the guitar parts on this recording.  The elaborate studio production is one reason why they have, in my experience, never played it very well live. 
 
They did a very good job of it in 2014 at a 50 year London Hyde Park concert. I was a very good documentary of the Rolling Stones.
{#Bananajam}I love this song, this whole damn record. I give it a 10.
Once again, playing the best song ever written......
{#Iamwithstupid}
Protests don't sound this good anymore.  My kids don't even recycle.  This gets an ultimate 10 from my quarter.
 yougivememosi wrote:
Possibly the best rock song ever written....
 
i might have to agree with you...at least the top 5...definitely smacks you right in the brain, the gut and the pelvis all at the same time
10
Possibly the best rock song ever written....
Is that Kid Rock on guitar or the guy form the Foo Fighters? Or maybe from Artic Monkey or Aracde Fire? 
{#Bananajam}Such an awesome song and great representation of the '60s.
MerryClaytonHWOFDec2012.jpg

Merry Clayton you are Fantastic!

This song is phenominally awesome 
From Wikipedia:
 

After the first verse, a higher-pitched second vocal part enters, sung by guest vocalist Merry Clayton. Of her inclusion, Jagger said 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.'" Clayton gives her solo performance after a solo performed by Richards, repeatedly singing "Rape, murder. It's just a shot away. It's just a shot away," and finally screaming the final stanza. She and Jagger finish the song with the line, "Love, sister, it's just a kiss away." To date it remains one of the most prominent contributions to a Rolling Stones track by a female vocalist.<4>

At about 2:59 into the song, Clayton's voice cracks twice from the strain of her singing; once during the second refrain, on the word "shot" from the last line, and then again during the first line of the third and final refrain, on the word "murder", after which Jagger can be heard saying "Woo!" in response to Clayton's emotional delivery. She suffered a miscarriage upon returning home, attributed by some sources to the strain involved in reaching the highest notes.<5> Merry Clayton's name was erroneously written on the original release, appearing as 'Mary'.

Didn't expect that. Quite a story. Great song. 
 

And by the way who is the woman singing?
DAMN!  

 
10 Baby!
 
 arcs_n_sparks wrote:
Still the best song ever written...
Yes.  And at the time it was written (Vietnam era, kids) it was such an eloquent anti-war song...all w/o politics or waving a flag. 




 scraig wrote:
Merry Clayton is the reason this song is a 10.



 


Not really. It's just a great song.
I was about to say this is the best rock n roll record of all time ... as if it was some kind of new insight.  Scrolled down, and am glad to see so many who agree.
Great interview with Merry and Lou Adler on NPR.  https://www.npr.org/2014/04/27/307473403/reliving-dylans-gospel-bobs-songs-transformed

Great story about getting up pregnant at 11:00 PM to sing back up.



Merry Clayton is the reason this song is a 10.


dionysius wrote:
The dread, the apocalypse of the late sixties captured in one stupendous track on one stupendous record album (Let It Bleed, by the way—everyone needs to own it!). I stand—or sit—in slackjawed amazement that never grows old or stale, when it plays on radio or on my stereo. The Stones have never surpassed this song, though they may have equalled it from time to time in the late sixties or early seventies. Shivers down my spine....
Every now and then I bump this eloquent comment from years ago . Thanks Dionysius.
I don't often listen to the Rolling Stones, but when I do I listen to "Gimme Shelter".  Stay bluesy my friends
I used to love this song, and now I'm really sick of it.  I bet if everybody just gave it about a "three year rest", I'd like it again. 

Can somebody please make that happen?
loud
10 - next please
Still the best song ever written...
10++
One of their best, and this comes from a HUGE Rolling Stones fan. And I got to hear it live once - too cool.
 Stingray wrote:
One of the best songs in Rock - EVER!!!!

 

Indeed.
 
 
And now I get goosebumps listening to it, after having seen "20 Feet From Stardom" - a rockumentary about the famous backup vocalists from that era....and learning that they actually retrieved Mary from her home in the middle of the frickin' night (in her pajamas with curlers in her hair) to go and learn this song/lay down her track - and she totally stole the song from Mick. In just a few hours.
 
 
Holy crap.    
 On_The_Beach wrote:
https://blog.elsaisaac.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/10.jpg

 
WHAT A LOVELY 10!
 


One of the best songs in Rock - EVER!!!!