28 May, 2010

Gimme Shelter - The Rolling Stones

Redheads were the rage for a couple posts and I had more halfway written in my head but then I got lost in Tori Amosland for a while. Now I've been diverted onto the Rolling Stones highway so redheads are off for a bit.

I love the Stones. Wait, let me clarify. I love the Stones from Tattoo You and before. Anything since then has been utter crap they've done solely for the purpose of adding more money to their already overfilled coffers. Of course, to be fair, Mick does need a steady income to pay for all of his legitimate and illegitimate children, Ronnie has major alcoholism issues and alimony payments and Charlie really should look into getting smile implants.

Of their impressive catalogue, my favorite Stones song is Gimme Shelter.

The real impact of this song for me isn't so much the lyrics, which are simple yet compelling. What gets me every time I hear it is the secondary vocal provided by Merry Clayton. She truly is the focus of the song and Mick seems to understand it as his vocal, while great in true Mick fashion, often takes the backseat to Merry's amazing voice. Their voices in this duet, and this song truly is a duet, complement each other wonderfully.

War, children it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
Oooh see the fire is sweepin'
Our very street today
Burns like a red coal carpet
Mad bull lost its way
Even hearing the intro, with Keith Richards' rhythm guitar and the swelling of the music as the song gains steam, it gives me chills sometimes. There's a very distinct vibe to this song, which hits me as being eerily compelling. It's been used in several feature films, almost all of them having to do with the Vietnam War, about which this song was written.

I also love how the lyric optimistically and hopefully goes from war, rape and murder to how love is only a kiss away. If only it were that simple.

1 comment:

  1. I do love this song, but my favorite Stones song is Beast of Burden. Not so much for the words as the bluesy-ness of it. I do love me some old-school Rolling Stones.