Gimme Shelter by Keith RichardsKeith Richards is an English guitarist, songwriter, singer, producer and founding member of The Rolling Stones. As a guitarist Richards is mostly known for his innovative rhythm playing. In 2003 Richards was ranked 10th on Rolling Stone magazines 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.
With songwriting partner and Rolling Stones lead vocalist Mick Jagger, Richards has written and recorded hundreds of songs, fourteen of which Rolling Stone magazine lists among the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
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It first appeared as the opening track on the band's album Let It Bleed. Although the first word was spelled "Gimmie" on that album, subsequent recordings by the band and other musicians have made "Gimme" the customary spelling. Greil Marcus , writing in Rolling Stone magazine at the time of its release, said of it, "The Stones have never done anything better. The recording features Richards playing in his new open tuning on electric guitar. The recording also features vocals by Merry Clayton , recorded at a last-minute late-night recording session during the mixing phase, arranged by her friend and record producer Jack Nitzsche. Richards began working on the song's signature opening riff in London whilst Jagger was away filming Performance.
It was a tumultuous time for the Stones. They had been struggling with the album for the better part of a year as they dealt with the personal disintegration of their founder and multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones, whose drug addiction and personality problems had reached a critical stage. Jones was fired from the band in June of that year. He died less than a month later. And although the Stones couldn't have known it at the time, the year would end on another catastrophic note, as violence broke out at the notorious Altamont Free Concert just a day after Let it Bleed was released. It was also a grim time around the world.
Greil Marcus , writing in Rolling Stone magazine at the time of its release, praised the song, stating that the band has "never done anything better". Although the first word was spelled "Gimmie" on that album, subsequent recordings by the band and other musicians have made "Gimme" the customary spelling. The recording features Richards playing in an open tuning on electric guitar. The recording also features vocals by Merry Clayton. In his autobiography Life , Richards revealed that the tension of the song was inspired by his jealousy at seeing the relationship between Pallenberg and Jagger, and his suspicions of an affair between them. As released, the song begins with Richards performing a guitar intro, soon joined by Jagger's lead vocal. Well, it's a very rough, very violent era.