Mick and Keith

I’m not sure how I ended up reading about the Rolling Stones on Wikipedia, since I read at least half of Old Gods, Almost Dead by Stephen Davis and therefore know everything worth knowing about the Stones. (Apparently this Mick Jagger fellow likes the ladies!) If you have information as to how I ended up reading this part of Wikipedia (Getting my blood replaced like Keith Richards? Recording with Don Was?) please call our toll-free hotline. We will keep your information confidential. Nonetheless, I did end up reading about the Rolling Stones on Wikipedia – the entry on “Gimme Shelter,” to be specific – and the groanage that ensued was way worse than when I first saw the “Miss You” video:

Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, “Gimme Shelter” was created from the combined efforts of both the singer and the guitarist.

It’s good that Wikipedia points this out because some songs written by two people don’t come from the combined efforts of those two people. They come from elves, who write the songs while they wait for the Fudge Stripes to finish baking.

The lyrics of the song speak of seeking shelter

Again, this is a good thing to explain, because a title like “Gimme Shelter” is pretty open to interpretation. But the article leaves us hanging on a lot of crucial details. For starters, I’d add a sentence explaining that the song’s guitar intro was played on a guitar, and maybe point out that the recording session was the time when they recorded the song.

But why do all the improvements myself? One of the article’s sources is a Mick Jagger interview by Rolling Stone’s Jann Wenner, and Jann’s questions would make a fine Wikipedia entry in and of themselves:

Wenner: [Let It Bleed] seems to be one of the bleakest records that you made. The songs are very disturbing, and the scenery is ugly. Why this view of the world? The topics are rape, war, murder, addiction . . .

Jagger: Well, it’s a very rough, very violent era. The Vietnam War. Violence on the screens, pillage and burning. And Vietnam was not war as we knew it in the conventional sense… It was a real nasty war, and people didn’t like it. People objected, and people didn’t want to fight it. The people that were there weren’t doing well. There were these things used that were always used before, but no one knew about them — like napalm.

Wenner: Are you saying the Vietnam War had a heavy influence on this record?

Fine work, Jann! We’ll call it “No Duh: The Rolling Stone Interview”, and you can handle the last few edits.