Monday, October 12, 2009

Who sings (female) back-up on Stones' Gimme Shelter?

A high second vocal track is sung by guest vocalist Merry Clayton. On her inclusion, Jagger said in the 2003 book According to... The Rolling Stones, "The use of the female voice was the producer's idea. It would be one of those moments along the lines of "I hear a girl on this track - get one on the phone." Clayton gives her solo performance, and one of the song's most famous pieces, after a solo performed by Richards, repeatedly singing "Rape, murder; It's just a shot away, It's just a shot away," and finally screaming the final stanza. She and Jagger finish the song with the line, "Love, sister, it's just a kiss away." To date it remains one of the most prominent contributions to a Rolling Stones track by a female vocalist
Who sings (female) back-up on Stones' Gimme Shelter?
dude! thanks a ton. I've been waiting to find that out for like ever. Report Abuse

Reply:Merry Clayton

5 minutes later I find out, why do we need Answers when we have Wikipedia?
Reply:Merry Clayton is the female vocalist. She was a Gospel singer who did backup vocals for various artists, including Ray Charles. She had a regular role on the '80s TV show Cagney and Lacey, and played a maid in the movie Maid To Order. She released her own version of this song.

Her first name was given because she was born on Christmas day. Merry also sang the song "Yes" that was in the 1987 film Dirty Dancing and also featured on the soundtrack album.

Official Site:

Probably her finest release came in 1980 with the excellent 'Emotion'.

Merry Clayton's version of "Gimme Shelter"

the Clayton version, produced by Adler and arranged by Gene Page, cleans up the sound a little, and the replacement of Jaggers vocal with Claytons powerful sound can only be seen as a major improvement (I鈥檇 go as far as to say that upwards of 80% of the lyrics are now decipherable...). Taken as a whole, Clayton鈥檚 version has a funky edge with some great wah-wah guitar, backup vocals (go figure) and horns. Whereas the Stones original has a monolithic, apocalyptic edge to it, Clayton鈥檚 version remakes it as a straight-ahead (albeit funky) rock鈥檔鈥檙oll song. I鈥檇 almost go as far as to say that I prefer her version, but I鈥檓 sure that鈥檚 the result of my having heard the Stones version literally hundreds of times since I started listening to the radio in earnest more than 30 years ago (familiarity breeding contempt and all that...). An interesting counterpoint to this is Thelma Houston鈥檚, Jimmy Webb-arranged version of 鈥楯umping Jack Flash鈥?from the previous year, which I will most definitely blog in the coming weeks. Merry Clayton's version of 'Gimme Shelter' has been reissued on "Gimme Shelter -- A Kaleidoscopic Collision "

song clip: site:
Reply:Gimme Shelter

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