Merry Clayton’s Incredible Isolated Vocals From the Night She Sung on ‘Gimme Shelter’ in Her Pajamas

In a fabulous clip from the 2013 film 20 Feet From Stardom, the great Merry Clayton, who sang the incredible backup vocals on the iconic Rolling Stones song “Gimme Shelter”, recalled the night she was asked to come to the studio to record, after she had gotten ready for bed.

It was like very late at night and I was very pregnant, had curlers and the whole thing in my head getting ready to go to bed and we got a call Mary it’s a group of guys in town called rollin…rollin somebodies and they’re from England and they need somebody that will sing with them. They picked me up with silk pajamas on a mink coat and a Chanel scarf on my head.

Frontman Mick Jagger also recalled that night quite similarly.

We said would be wonderful of a woman sing this part about that I’ve written about rape, murder and all this it was in the middle of the night and then we thought we would love to have a woman sing this part. I didn’t know her from Adam, didn’t know she would turn up that curlers, that she was in bed. You know it was kind of a raunchy part to sing.

The best part of clip, however is hearing Clayton’s isolated vocals from that legendary night.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.