.

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."

prev
Song Stories Main Next

Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

More Song Stories entries »
www.expandtheroom.com