What does Gimme Shelter mean?

The Rolling Stones: Gimme Shelter Meaning

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Album cover for Gimme Shelter album cover

Gimme Shelter Lyrics

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...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Dec 18th 2015 !⃝

    The issues the song brings up are the political and social problems faced in the 1960s, but more specifically, the Vietnam War. Rather than taking a stance on the issue of communism the war was fought about, the Rolling Stones wrote a song about how the war shouldn’t be fought because of its effects on society. Mick Jagger sings about how when these wars are waged the people need to “get some shelter” or they will “fade away,” meaning they will die.

  2. anonymous
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    Nov 25th 2021 !⃝

    It’s about Keith Richards divorce from his first wife, that ended very badly.( He said it in an interview. )

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  3. anonymous
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    Aug 30th 2021 !⃝

    I think it is about urban life and it’s violence. Youngsters caught up in city life and becoming violent and criminal.

  4. Doorag
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    Feb 2nd 2020 !⃝

    The Song is about the Death of the Fun-loving hippie attitude of the 60's. The decade started off as an era of young people passively protesting against war and violence had now become a world that is associated with ending young people to fight in a war of atrocities and torture that they never cared for to begin with or how the civil rights movements were now violent and destructive.

    "War, Children It's just a shot away,"

    This line refers to how war has personally attacked Civilians have been targeted as much in war as soldiers have and how the targets of war are often innocent, What could be more innocent than a Child?

    "Rape, Murder, It's just a shot away"

    This line refers to how expectations have been changed around sex among men and women. At this time women had just began many protests for equal rights but were being undermined because of their gender. The line now refers to how women being raped is scarcely better than murder, and how raper can manipulate someone out of their own life.

    "I tell you, Love, Sister, It's just a Kiss away"

    This line refers the fun-loving attitude mentioned early and how, in comparison, it is one paragraph whereas the bad parts of the sixties have nine paragraphs and therefore overshadow it.

    "If I don't get some Shelter,
    Ooh yeah, I'm gonna fade away."

    This Line(s) refer to how the pacifist movement is dying and that they have functionally given up. If people don't immediately start up the Hippie movement again, the seventies will be associated with sadness and dread.

    It's no surprise that this song is associated with the Altamont Free Concert, one of the most brutal events in music history, this is about a world that has changed from being so optimistic to so depressing, A meaningless war is waging in Vietnam, The 'free world' is becoming increasingly less democratic and the planet had came inches away from Nuclear Armageddon just 6 years earlier. The world is so brutal but was being remembered for good music and peace.

  5. fistofate
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    Feb 7th 2012 !⃝

    The idea for the song was a rewrite of the Staples Singers' song "I Had A Dream" a song about an apocolyptic vision, put to a Latin rock rhythm.
    They also got the vibrato guitar idea and the Merry Clayton (sounds like Mavis) vocal part from this song.
    "The Last time" was another song idea they got from the Staples, who were a great source of material for the Stones and Bob Dylan as well.

  6. anonymous
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    Aug 24th 2011 !⃝

    Gimme Shelter is about finding a nice place in a mean world.

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