Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Merry Clayton - "Gimme Shelter" and Three More Amazing Covers



We've all heard those amazing backing vocals on the Rolling Stones' song "Gimme Shelter." Those backing vocals were from the great Merry Clayton. Merry has a long and storied career in pop music though. In the early 60's, she was one of Ray Charles' Raelettes. She recorded tracks with Elvis Presley, Joe Cocker, and the Superemes, among many others. She has made a handful of her own albums and appeared on many soundtracks, but her best work was from her own records in the early 70's.

Mary's best moment of her career would come a year after she recorded "Gimme Shetler" for the Stones, when she laid down a cover of the song herself. There are no words to describe how good this is so just give it a listen. From the 1970 album of the same name, here's a fan made video and an mp3 of Merry Clayton's version of "Gimme Shelter."



Merry Clayton - "Gimme Shelter" (Rolling Stones cover)

One more classic cover that appeared on the Gimme Shelter album:

Merry Clayton- "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (Simon & Garfunkel cover)

In 1971, she made a great self titled record. Two more covers from Merry Clayton.

Merry Clayton - "Southern Man" (Neil Young cover)
Merry Clayton - "Grandma's Hands" (Bill Withers cover)

Much of Merry's recorded work is difficult to track down. For example, Gimme Shelter and Merry Clayton are both available from amazon.com as Japanese imports only for $63 each. However, she has contined playing shows nearly 40 years after these classic recordings and that phenomenal voice is still there.

Here's Merry on June 21, 2008 at the Toronto Jazz Festival still going strong.



Browse through Merry Clayton's music at amazon.com

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