Gimme Shelter–The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones first played the song live on the TV special, ‘Pop Go The Sixties’, on 31 December 1969.

Featuring Lisa Fischer: Many Say
the Greatest Performance of this Song

“Gimmer Shelter” is one of those classic songs that captures the nasty and dangerous feelings of people living on the sharp edge of annihilation for far too long, and yearning to swing the pendulum of chance the other direction towards peace and hope, but feeling gravity’s constant tug back towards destruction. It first appeared as the opening track on the band’s 1969 album, “Let It Bleed”.

The Stones were the first band I ever saw play live. It was September 25th 1981. I remember walking out on to the bleachers, and seeing more than a hundred thousand people rocking their brains out on a late summer afternoon at Philadelphia’s dilapidated JFK stadium.

There were human miseries and ecstasies my 12 year old eyes witnessed that day that I will never forget. A biker climbed up a thin pillar on the side of the stage and was balancing on one leg with a jug full of wine. He must have been 30 feet above the ground. Two guys who had been snorting something were hunched over themselves with noses pouring blood. I also saw an energized Jagger, still in his prime, marionetting around the stage with an Eagles jersey and an American flag playing great Rock and Roll. In the heat of the late afternoon, the small city of Stones fans collectively went out of their minds. I was instantly sold on this Devil’s music.

Gimme Shelter
(M. Jagger/K. Richards)

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

Ooh, see the fire is sweepin’
Our very street today
Burns like a red coal carpet
Mad bull lost its way

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

Rape, murder!
It’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away

Rape, murder!
It’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away

Rape, murder!
It’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away

The floods is threat’ning
My very life today
Gimme, gimme shelter
Or I’m gonna fade away

War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away

I tell you love, sister, it’s just a kiss away
It’s just a kiss away
It’s just a kiss away
It’s just a kiss away
It’s just a kiss away
Kiss away, kiss away
Amsterdam 1995

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