abby-hanneman_ray-ray_130423

Abby Hanneman ~ Ray Ray

Scary!

And one of the stranger fan videos I’ve ever seen, for a fantastic song with arguably the greatest intro of all time.

Yeah, a storm is threatening
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Lord, I’m gonna fade away

War, children, yeah, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
War, children, yeah, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away, hey, yeah

Oh, see the fire is sweepin’
At our streets today
Burnin’ like a red coal carpet
A mad bull lost its way

War, children, yeah, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
War, children, yeah, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away, hey, yeah
Rape, murder, 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, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away

Yeah, a storm is threatening
My very life today
A gimme, a gimme shelter
Or I’m gonna fade away
War, children, yeah, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
War, children, yeah, 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, shot away, shot away
It’s just a shot away, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away, shot away, shot away

I tell love, sister, yeah, it’s just a kiss away
I tell love, sister, yeah, 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
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, kiss away, kiss away

Gimme shelter, yeah, gimme shelter,yeah
Gimme shelter, yeah, gimme shelter
Gimme shelter, gimme shelter

I have an old, very dear friend, who for many years ran all the huge shows in the Bay Area for Bill Graham Presents. He told me that, over time, he came to realize that bands like the Rolling Stones were doing much more that just playing songs in their shows: they were summoning, channeling, and focusing enormous currents of human energy—hopes, dreams, lust, passion, the gamut—from the audience. He told me about walking across the back of the the stage at a Stones concert at the Oakland Coliseum, easily sixty thousand people in the stadium. It was near the end of their set. He said that when he got right behind the band in the middle of a song, he was hit with a torrential blast of energy unlike anything he had ever experienced before.

Keith Richards has alluded to the same thing when he talks about floating three feet off the stage during their shows and playing things on the guitar that he cannot’t play: the audience is playing the guitar through him.

In any case, this song was no joke when it came out in late 1969, a very strange and dark year. I don’t have the energy to share any stories tonight. Suffice it say this song captured the Zeitgeist a lot more accurately than “Hey Jude” or “Let It Be.” And you know I’m a rabid Beatlemaniac to the bone.

Love, Sister, it’s just a kiss away.

Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones. For A.C.

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