Gimme Shelter

Rolling Stones
I have been a fan of the Rolling Stones for as long as I could remember. There are a some songs that stand out more than others, Street Fighting Man, Gimme Shelter, 2000 Light Years from Home, and Angie, to name a few. With 29 studio albums, 18 live albums, 30 compilation albums, and 107 singles there are a lot to choose from.
One reason that Gimme Shelter stands out is the backing vocals of Mary Clayton. Listen to this piece - Clayton's isolated vocals from Gimme Shelter.

Stephen Davis writes in his book Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-Year Odyssey of the Rolling Stones, “No rock record, before or since, has ever so completely captured the sense of palpable dread that hung over its era.”

Rape, murder!
It’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away

Released in 1969 with its Latin groove and rock theme, music by Keith Richards and lyrics by Mick Jagger, the world was set in war and this moody piece reflected the tension of the world closing in.

The song credits:
Mick Jagger - vocals, harmonica
Keith Richards - guitars, backing vocals
Bill Wyman - bass
Charlie Watts - drums
Nicky Hopkins - piano
Jimmy Miller - percussion
Merry Clayton - vocals

And if you are interested in Mary Clayton, or any of the backup singers who graced the recordings of so many favourite artists, watch the film 20 Feet From Stardom. As the tagline says, "meet the unsung heroes behind the greatest music of our time.


  1. I am privileged to have seen the Stones, live, twice. Once in the famous Hyde Park concert in 1969 and again in 2006, locally. The latter was the best concert I have ever been to. They were absolutely fantastic.

    1. Wow Babs! Hyde Park. You attended Stones in the Park. That's so cool. Did you see the opening acts too? I also would have also liked to have seen seen King Crimson in their heyday.