Gimme Shelter (4:31)

Cover of Rolled Gold +

From Rolled Gold + and 83 other releases

Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, “Gimme Shelter” was created from the combined efforts of both the singer and the guitarist. Richards had been working on the song’s signature opening in London while Jagger was working on the film Performance. The song takes the form of a churning mid-tempo rocker. It begins with a rhythm guitar intro by Richards, followed by Jagger’s lead vocal. On the recording of the album, Jagger said in a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone, “Well, it’s a very rough, very violent era. The Vietnam War. Violence on the screens, pillage and burning. And Vietnam was not war as we knew it in the conventional sense…” On the song itself, he concluded, “That’s a kind of end-of-the-world song, really. It’s apocalypse; the whole record’s like that.”

The lyrics of the song speak of seeking shelter from a coming storm, painting a picture of devastation and social apocalypse while also talking of the power of love:

“ Oh, a storm is threat’ning, My very life today; If I don’t get some shelter, Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away ”
“ War, children, it’s just a shot away, It’s just a shot away; War, children, it’s just a shot away, It’s just a shot away”

The track was used to great effect in the Martin Scorses 1995 classic, ‘Casino’ adding period atmosphere as only great music can.


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