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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

“Stillness Is the Move”

Dirty Projectors | 2009

A Wim Wenders film and a rapper inspired the Dirty Projectors duo David Longstreth and Amber Coffmanto write "sort of a love song." "We rented the movie Wings of Desire from Dave's brother's recommendation, and he had me go through it and just write down some things that I found interesting, and they made it into the song," Coffman said. As for the hip-hop connection, Longstreth explained, "The beat is based on T-Pain. We commissioned a radio mix of the song by the guy who mixes all of Timbaland's records, but the mix we made sounded way better, so we didn't use it."

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