“Ode to Merry Clayton’s Solo on Gimme Shelter” by Michael Parker

Faculty member Michael Parker’s new piece “Ode to Merry Clayton’s Solo on ‘Gimme Shelter'” appears at Oxford American:

“Let me say straightaway that though the song in question, the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter,” which first introduced me to the voice of a sweet angel named Merry Clayton, is often considered among Stones fanatics a career pinnacle, and is deemed by the sort of pretentious rock journalist who tends to forget what Keith Richards himself said about rock & roll—that it starts from the neck down—to be a fin-de-siècle (italics theirs) anthem, and is sometimes described with adjectives such as “ominous,” “eerie,” “apocalyptic”; I don’t even really consider it a part of the Stones’ oeuvre. Merry Clayton pulls off the unfathomable: She steals a song—not just a song, but one so powerful that it is routinely, rightly or not, credited with pronouncing the death of the flower-power ’60s—from Mick bloody Jagger.”

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