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Clayton had to make such a spur-of-the-moment decision late one night, while just getting ready for bed at her L.A. home. Sign up for our newsletter. “She’s just overwhelming.”. It’s one of those things – to this day, the answers are there, but you still wonder why. This became even more apparent when Mick Jagger invited his backup singer Lisa Fischer to help the band sing Gimme Shelter. Check it out! ©2006-2020 Open Culture, LLC. Miller argued there was something missing from Gimme Shelter, something that would turn good into great. Want more Rolling Stone? if you like our Facebook fanpage, you'll receive more articles like the one you just read! She got a call from producer Jack Nietzsche, she tells us in a clip from the documentary above, whom she remembers saying: “There’s a group of guys in town called… the Rolling… Somebodies… and they need somebody that will sing with them.”. All rights reserved. The live renditions of this song are always amazing, especially when it’s the female singer’s turn to sing, and this case is no different! They found what they were looking for in 20-year-old Merry Clayton. The movie’s enthusiastic reception has given Clayton an overdue opportunity to revisit her underappreciated early-Seventies efforts to build a solo career. Set for release June 25th, The Best of Merry Clayton compiles 17 tracks culled from her three solo albums with Lou Adler’s Ode Records, and rarities including an orchestral performance of “The Acid Queen” from the Who’s Tommy and a featured lead on a 1969 gospel tribute to the music of Bob Dylan. Not just because it’s a popular song, but because it’s played in virtually every moving during any scene that pans over an unconscious body, but anyway, I’m getting off track, here. When The Rolling Stones took to the stage in Glastonbury in 2013, the magic was unquestionably in the air. I suppose you never heard of a group called the Beatles either. The Haunting Background Vocals on The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter:” Merry Clayton Recalls How They Came to Be. Gimme Shelter: Watch the Classic Documentary of the Rolling Stones’ Disastrous Concert at Altamont. “My dear friend and angel in life has been Uncle Lou,” Clayton says. We’re hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads. “Gimme Shelter” also came to represent, Clayton told the L.A. Times, “a dark, dark period for me,” though she couldn’t have known the price she’d pay for that session when she agreed to do it. Prodigiously talented, she could have been a big star in her own right, much like the other great singers – Darlene Love, Lisa Fischer, Tata Vega – featured in the film (now screening in New York and L.A. and opening in wide release next week). But she “turned it around,” she says: “I took it as life, love and energy and directed it in another direction so it doesn’t really bother me to sing ‘Gimme Shelter’ now. Follow him at @jdmagness, by Josh Jones | Permalink | Comments (2) |. I can speak for no one else but I know what voice I hear in this song. “It’s been a beautiful, precious run,” she says, “and I am loooo-ving it.”, In This Article: We never spam. "Gimme Shelter" is the opening track to the 1969 album Let It Bleed by the Rolling Stones. The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” Played by Musicians Around the World. “I knew who I was, and what I had,” she says. Although the first word was spelled "Gimmie" on that album, subsequent recordings by the band and other musicians have made "Gimme" the customary spelling. Whether she knew of them or not, it’s her offering of her best voice -one that hints of triumph and tragedy and cries for both- that is truth. Once she started singing on her own, the audience erupted! The question of what an artist is willing to give up for her art is unanswerable until the moment of sacrifice arrives, and she must make a choice—safety, comfort, family, etc, or the leap into a creative endeavor whose outcome is uncertain? “Any time Lou calls you for anything, it’s always a winner.”. Clayton had no idea who the Stones were, but at her husband’s urging, she took the gig. “I thought maybe God doesn’t want me singing this type of music,” she says. Murder! She could’ve been singing lead on ‘Gimme Shelter,’ which she basically was.”, Child of a pastor, Clayton found herself asking, “Lord, what is it?” when times were tough. Mick Jagger Tells the Story Behind ‘Gimme Shelter’ and Merry Clayton’s Haunting Background Vocals. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Get the best cultural and educational resources on the web curated for you in a daily email. ), “Her spirit takes over immediately when you meet her,” says Adler, who has been Clayton’s champion since the late Sixties. When the late Gil Friesen, former chairman of A&M Records, approached Adler about an idea he had for a film about backup singers, the producer’s first suggestions were Love and Clayton. Her recollection of being summoned to the studio at an ungodly hour to sing on “Gimme Shelter” is one of the film’s most joyful moments. The performance further proves, I think, that, just as much as Richards’ guitar lines and Jagger’s lyrics, her voice played a crucial, starring role in the classic recording. She had a regular role on the '80s TV show Cagney and Lacey, and played a maid in the movie Maid To Order. We find the free courses and audio books you need, the language lessons & educational videos you want, and plenty of enlightenment in between. They often present themselves instead as the kind of seemingly ordinary compromises we all make to some degree: do I go on this lucrative tour or attend my daughter’s recital? Watch Miley Cyrus Cover Cranberries' 'Zombie' for Save Our Stages Festival, The movie’s enthusiastic reception has given Clayton an overdue opportunity to revisit her underappreciated early-Seventies efforts to build a solo career. © Copyright 2020 Rolling Stone, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC. Suggested by producer and long-time Stones acolyte Jack Nitzsche, Clayton had made her name through duets and backing vocals for Ray Charles, Burt Bacharach and Elvis Presley, among many others. “It was hard to accept,” says the producer, who was recently reminded that Clayton’s version of King and Gerry Goffin’s “Oh No Not My Baby” was nominated for a Grammy in 1973. What mattered was “being the best in everything that was put on your plate to do.”, And there’s little question she was the best in the room. Unsubscribe at any time. We want to hear from you! This became even more apparent when Mick Jagger invited his backup singer Lisa Fischer to help the band sing Gimme Shelter. It’s just a shot away.” (Both the compilation and the Twenty Feet From Stardom soundtrack include Clayton’s own version of the song from her 1970 solo debut. Take away her voice or the dear lady on Dark Side of the Moon and those songs soar not nearly so high. 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".. When The Rolling Stones took to the stage in Glastonbury in 2013, the magic was unquestionably in the air. Open Culture scours the web for the best educational media. “I knew I was singing my face off.”, Her recollection of being summoned to the studio at an ungodly hour to sing on “Gimme Shelter” is one of the film’s most joyful moments.

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