Writer: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
Producer: Jimmy Miller
Recorded:1969, Olympic Studios, London
Released: December 5, 1969
|Players:||Mick Jagger– vocals, harmonica
Merry Clayton — vocals
Keith Richards — guitar, vocals
Charlie Watts — drums
Bill Wyman — bass
Jimmy Miller — percussion
Nicky Hopkins — piano
|Album:||Let It Bleed (London Records,1969)|
Many people believe “Gimme Shelter” is about the infamous 1969 Altamont concert, where Hell’s Angels security guards stabbed 18-year-old Meredith Hunter to death, but in fact it was recorded long before Altamont, and the Let It Bleed album was released the day before the concert.
Gimme Shelter, Albert and David Maysles’ film about the Stones’ 1969 tour ending in Altamont, premiered in New York City on December 5, 1970. A clip from the film led to the trial of Hell’s Angel Alan Passaro on murder charges. The jury, having only one witness, found him not guilty.
The Gimme Shelter film, a documentary devoid of commentary, showed the uncontrollable crowd problems in vivid detail. In an emotional movie review, Rolling Stone critic Michael Goodwin wrote, “It’s a real horror movie.” The movie contained repeated clips of a shocked Mick Jagger watching unedited video.
Also, though many people assume R&B singer Tina Turner, a friend and occasional Stones touring mate, did the distinctive duet with Jagger, it was actually a relatively unknown singer, Merry Clayton.
Rock singer Bonnie Bramlett was originally supposed to sing the duet vocal, but her husband, Delaney, started a fight because she hadn’t asked his permission first. Clayton replaced her.
“Gimme Shelter” was never released as a single.