Jagger & Keith Richards
February-March & October-November 1969
Recording locations: Olympic
Sound Studios, London; Sunset Sound & Elektra Studios, Los Angeles
Chief engineer: Glyn
Performed onstage: 1969-70,
1972-73, 1975, 1989-90, 1995, 1997-99, 2002-03, 2006, 2012-13
Bass: Bill Wyman
Electric guitars: Keith
Lead vocals: Mick
Jagger & Merry Clayton
Background vocals: Mick
Jagger, Keith Richards & Merry Clayton
Percussion (incl. maracas): Jimmy
Oh a storm is threatening my very life today
If I don't get some shelter, oh yeah, I'm
going to fade away
War, children, it's just a shot away, it's
just a shot away
Ooh, see the fire sweeping our very streets
Burns like a red coal carpet, mad bull lost
Rape, murder, it's just a shot away (yeah),
it's just a shot away
The floods is threatening my very life today
Gimme, gimme shelter or I'm going to fade
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...
Gimmie Shelter is a classic (example of
a song where the music and words came together). That, I just slapped down
on a cassette while waiting for Mick to finish Performance.
Keith Richards, 1983
I wrote Gimmie Shelter
on a stormy day, sitting in Robert Fraser's apartment in Mount Street. Anita was shooting Performance
at the time, not far away... It was just a terrible fucking 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.
Keith Richards, Life (2010)
We did Gimmie Shelter in a big room
at Olympic Studios, and then did the overdubs in L.A. 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. It would be one of those moments along the lines
of I hear a girl on this track - get one on the phone.
Mick Jagger, 2003
The guitar I used on Gimmie Shelter
on Let It Bleed - as if by design, it fell apart on the last take.
Keith Richards, 1989
That (song too, like Midnight Rambler)
was done on a full-bodied, Australian electric-acoustic, f-hole guitar.
It kind of looked like an Australian copy of the Gibson model that Chuck
Berry used... It had all been revarnished and painted out, but it sounded
great. It made a great record... And on the very last note of Gimmie
Shelter, the whole neck fell off. You can hear it on the original take.
Keith Richards, 2002
That's a kind of end-of-the-world song, really.
It's apocalypse; the whole record's like that.
Mick Jagger, 1995
And I know it was during that time of the
Vietnam War and so on, so it was very much the awareness that war is always
present, or almost... very present in life.
Mick Jagger, 2003
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