Keith Richards looked back at the writing of the Rolling Stones‘ ominous end of decade ’60s classic “Gimme Shelter.” During a new chat with Rolling Stone, Richards, who included the tune in the live set included on his deluxe, expanded edition of 1992’s Main Offender, recalled, “Listening to it back, I’d even forgotten that we’d laid that one down on with the Winos. And in a way, it reminded me of the day that I wrote it, which was like a rainy day in London, in Mount Street. There was a big storm on and everybody was running for cover, and it really just came out of that simple vision. And then I realized, of course, you have to expand it. And I realized that there’s only one storm, but there’s plenty more.”
He went on to say, “‘Gimme Shelter,’ I’ve always sort of had a soft spot for that one. . . (Mick Jagger) expanded it, and especially when I said that we need a female in here, a duet. And certainly stage-wise, gave it far more visual presence. The rape and the murder always brings crowds in, y’know?”
When pressed if he could actually wrap his head around the Stones celebrating their 60th anniversary this year, Richards said, “Who can wrap their head around 60 f***ing years? It all seems impossible that it’s been that long. But, yes, the feeling is that we have to do something this year. And, y’know, when that feeling grips this band, something will be done.”
Although certain songs in their catalogue have been revamped over the years, Keith Richards explained that for the most part, he has no interest in changing the arrangements of the Stones’ greatest songs: “A lot of these things are in their time, and they belong where they belong. And to fiddle about with them and treat them as, y’know, they’re ‘Mona Lisa’s,’ or something would be pointless. All the big ones and the best ones that everybody knows, we’ll leave them as they are. Y’know, I won’t recall nothing and say, ‘We shoulda done this or shoulda done that.’ Y’know, ’cause they’re in their time and space. That’s where they are.”
The Rolling Stones kick off their European dates on June 1st at Madrid, Spain’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.