"Gimme Shelter" as written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards....
Oh, a storm is threat'ning
My very life today
If I don't get some shelter
Oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away

War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

Ooh, see the fire is sweepin'
Our very street today
Burns like a red coal carpet
Mad bull lost its way

War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

Rape, murder!
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

Rape, murder yeah!
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

Rape, murder!
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away yea

The floods is threat'ning
My very life today
Gimme, gimme shelter
Or I'm gonna fade away

War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
I tell you love, sister, it's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
Kiss away, kiss away


Lyrics submitted by spliphstar

"Gimme Shelter" as written by Mick Jagger Keith Richards

Lyrics © Alfred

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Gimme Shelter song meanings
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98 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentIn my personla popwde this song is about mankind and hippies, and destruction, and warm, krispey kreme donuts when i'm high.
    bkabbotton June 04, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think everybody here is right to some extent.

    This song clearly has multiple meanings. The initial two verses seem to indicate the Vietnam war and how people could be eradicated from the planet and from life with just a "shot." The third verse seems to indicate violent protesting and likely altamont. The fourth verse with the high pitched "rape, murder its just a shot away" likely indicates heroin use (and maybe the excessive drug abuse at altamont). The distorted guitar after the verse sounds like a druggy shot into the veins, and the piercing screams of Ms. Clayton seem to infer drug use (regardless of what the band says, a mainstream band like the Rolling Stones would never admit to blatant heroin references, so they instead imply it). The ending it's just a kiss away likely refers to Richards and Mick Jagger's wife's affair.

    This song is essentially about living on the edge how life can change so fast at anytime. You could be happy one moment, and be blown up, have a horrible drug addiction or be cheating on your wife. The song has multiple meanings and is very 60s. Top ten rock songs of all time for sure.
    jsperon February 25, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General CommentOne of the best songs ever! I think the need for shelter represents a vulnerability. Sort of like teetering between two opposite and paradoxical states. But in the stark contrast between war being "just a shot away" and love being "just a kiss away," there's a powerful realization that makes deciding on where you'd like to stand so much easier.

    That was my personal take on it. But I think most would agree that the need for shelter probably refers to just wanting protection from some of the spiralling atrocious acts that take place in the world..
    nehaCon May 06, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentWhat a great song this is. Written entirely by Keith Richards as were many Stones songs credited to "Jagger-Richards".
    JumpyJackon November 12, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is about the apocalypse as foretold in the book of Revelations. A dark storm is approaching. Cats and dogs living together mass hysteria.
    bkabbotton May 12, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song kicks ass ;o)
    fallonyourKNEESon October 13, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's a wicked stones song about heroin using a war metaphor. This was when the Stones really got into the hard stuff (drugs) and produced some of their best work.
    Thoughts?
    camel690on May 05, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA couple of other notes about this song:

    -Keith wrote the musical part in his car in TEN MINUTES, waiting for Mick, who he had just found out was sleeping with then-wife Anita Pallenburg. In fact, he knew that was what was probably going on at that moment.
    -Mick did write the lyrics, and they are in fact about the chance that War is always around us, and he did have the Vietnam war in mind.
    -Opening played on an Electric acoustic.
    -Guitar tracks to this song are so amazing. The chugging sound never ceases and that is something that doesn't often happen.
    -I did hear that Keith did write everything for Wild Horses.
    -Rolling Stone called this the PERFECT SONG recently, and I tend to agree.
    Stamphateron December 14, 2004   Link
  • +1
    MemoryI've been a RS fan since I heard Time Is On My Side on my parent's car radio - I was 12 years old. I'm almost sixty now, and every time I hear the guitar intro to Gimme Shelter it sends a shiver up my spine and makes my brain snap back to life. It's either genius, inspiration or the biggest case of dumb luck rock and roll ever heard. Nothing else in my opinion comes close, and I've never even cared what the song was about or who actually wrote what. I could listen to the first sixty seconds over and over without ever tiring of it. That's on me, mate.
    guitarboy6on March 20, 2010   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningRead Keith's book "Life"; he explains exactly how he came to write the song, the location, the situation, the weather, his thoughts... It's one of those timeless songs that doesn't have one literal meaning. You jagoffs.
    JohnnyRotteron December 27, 2015   Link

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