1969Released
4:30

Did You Know?

Interesting facts and trivia about Gimme Shelter. By Songfacts®.

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.

Merry Clayton is the female vocalist. She is a gospel singer who did backup vocals for a number of 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. Clayton is featured in the 2013 film 20 Feet from Stardom, where she talks about her appearance on this song. The Stones were recording late at night in Los Angeles when they decided to use a female vocalist to sing with Jagger on the track. Clayton, who was pregnant at the time, got the call and was retrieved for the session. She showed up with curlers in her hair wearing silk pajamas, and Jagger explained to her that she's be singing the line, "Rape, murder, it's just a shot away." She did a take of her line, then decided to "blow them out of this room" on the next take. This time, she delivered a chilling vocal an octave higher, her voice cracking on "murder." This can be heard at about the 3:04 mark, and you can hear an impressed Mick Jagger in the background saying "Whoo!"

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Song Analysis

Key, BPM (tempo) and time signature of Gimme Shelter.
C♯Key
MinorMode
4/4Time Signature
119BPM

Album

The album Gimme Shelter is released on.

Released By

The record label that has released Gimme Shelter.
ABKCO Music and Records, Inc.
© 2002 ABKCO Music & Records Inc.
℗ 2002 ABKCO Music & Records Inc.

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