Meaning and Lyrics of Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones

Song Lyrics meaning of Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones

About The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones:
The Rolling Stones are a legendary British rock band formed in London in 1962. The band members consist of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood, and formerly Brian Jones and Bill Wyman. They are known for their enduring influence on rock and roll and their energetic live performances.

One of their iconic songs is “Gimme Shelter”, released in 1969 on their album “Let It Bleed.” The track features powerful vocals by Mick Jagger and a haunting backing vocal by Merry Clayton. “Gimme Shelter” has been praised for its raw emotional intensity and is considered one of the band’s greatest songs.
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Meaning of Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones

The song “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones is a powerful and haunting track that delves into themes of turmoil, violence, and the quest for safety in a world filled with chaos. Let’s break down the lyrics verse by verse to interpret its meaning.

Intro: The song begins with haunting vocals by Merry Clayton, setting a tone of urgency and foreboding.

Verse 1: Mick Jagger sings about a storm threatening his very existence, highlighting the impending danger and the need for shelter to survive.

Chorus: The repeated phrase “War, children, it’s just a shot away” emphasizes the imminent danger and the fragility of life in the face of conflict and violence. The repetition underscores the urgency and impact of the situation.

Verse 2: Jagger and Clayton paint a vivid picture of a fire sweeping through the streets, symbolizing destruction and chaos that engulfs the world. The mention of a “red-coal carpet” evokes imagery of destruction and upheaval.

Bridge: Clayton’s vocals bring in darker imagery of rape and murder, portraying the harsh realities of a violent world where such atrocities are just a shot away, reflecting the brutal and raw nature of the society depicted in the song.

Verse 3: The threat of a flood further heightens the sense of impending disaster, with the plea for shelter to avoid fading away, signifying the desire for protection and salvation in the face of impending doom.

Chorus: The repeated chorus reinforces the message that the threat of war and violence is ever-present, with the need for shelter and safety being just a shot away, underscoring the fragility and uncertainty of life.

Outro: The song ends on a somewhat hopeful note with the mention of love and kisses being just a touch away, offering a glimmer of comfort and solace amidst the chaos and turmoil depicted throughout the track.

The blend of Jagger’s vocals, Clayton’s powerful presence, and the instrumental elements come together to create a sense of urgency, desperation, and a yearning for refuge in a world plagued by strife and violence. “Gimme Shelter” is a poignant commentary on the harsh realities of life and the eternal quest for a safe haven in a tumultuous world.

Lyrics of Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones

Intro: Merry Clayton
Ooh-ooh-ooh
Ooh-ooh-ooh
Ooh-ooh-ooh
Ooh-ooh-ooh

Verse 1: Mick Jagger
Ooh, a storm is threatening
My very life today
If I don't get some shelter
Ooh yeah, I'm gonna fade away

Chorus: Mick Jagger & Merry Clayton
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, yeah

Verse 2: Mick Jagger & Merry Clayton
Ooh, see the fire is sweepin'
Our very streets today
Burns like a red-coal carpet
Mad bull lost your way

Chorus: Mick Jagger & Merry Clayton
War, children, yeah
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
War, children, yeah
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

Guitar Solo

Bridge: Merry Clayton
Rape, murder, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
Rape, murder, yeah, 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
Yeah

Verse 3: Mick Jagger & Merry Clayton
Mmm, a flood is threatening
My very life today
Gimme, gimme shelter
Or I'm going to fade away

Chorus: Mick Jagger & Merry Clayton
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

Outro: Mick Jagger & Merry Clayton
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

Instrumental Outro
Harmonica Solo

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