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Song Stories

“Gimme Shelter”

The Rolling Stones | 1969

The Rolling Stones released "Gimme Shelter" just days after Meredith Hunter's murder at the Altamont festival in 1969 -- fitting, because the song has become nearly synonymous with the violence and turbulence of the late 1960s. Keith Richards reportedly wrote "Gimme Shelter" in just 20 minutes, then crafted the ominous introduction using an acoustic-electric guitar modeled on one of Chuck Berry's favorites. The finishing touch came from American soul singer Merry Clayton, who added an eerie wail to lines like "Rape, murder, it's just a shot away." "It was a very rough, very violent era," Mick Jagger told Rolling Stone in 1995. "That's a kind of end-of-the-world song, really. It's apocalypse; the whole record's like that."

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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

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