From one of my favorite albums by The Rolling Stones, “Let It Bleed,” comes today’s bubbling under hit. Inspired by the time of the Vietnam War and racial and political uproar in the world in 1969, “Gimme Shelter” is a song full of angst – an apocalyptic number by the Stones. Cowritten by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, the song starts with Richards’ rhythm guitar played through an amp using the tremolo/vibrato feature.
As with the majority of the Stones’ recordings Jagger takes the lead vocals. He also plays the amplified harmonica on this cut as well. Jagger and Richards also contribute backing vocals along with Merry Clayton. It is said that Clayton put so much into this recording that she suffered a miscarriage after the session. Clayton later released her version of the song.
Missing from this particular recording is multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones whose time with the band would shortly come to a close which would be followed by his death. Of course bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts handled the rhythm section. Longtime sideman Nicky Hopkins provided the piano parts.
This classic Rolling Stones’ cut has been featured in many motion pictures and television shows.