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Welcome to SeeDarkly Sunday DisCOVERies:
a weekly exploration of goth, industrial, & dark alternative cover songs!
First time here? Click here for details from first entry.

It's the day before World Goth Day and this week's Third Sunday Throwback to the 20th Century focuses on an 80's goth rock cover of an iconic late 60's hard rock track that in some ways closed a particular chapter in music history:

Sisters of Mercy - Gimme Shelter (Rolling Stones)

The Rolling Stones released Let It Bleed as their tenth studio album in the U.S. in January 1969. Gimmie Shelter (later spelled "Gimme") was its first track and was praised by many critics of the time as their best song thus far. Its chorus featured backing vocals by gospel/soul singer Merry Clayton. The song was a chronicle of the times, speaking to the impact of the Vietnam War and the protests against it.
Later that year, The Rolling Stones planned to end their tour in conjunction with a free concert organized in part with Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. Held at Altamont Speedway in California, the event that was meant to be "Woodstock West" instead became known as "rock and roll's all-time worst day" due to significant amounts of violence, chaos, and several deaths. Most notable of the deaths was the wrongful slaying of an armed African-American by a member of the Hell's Angels biker gang. (The Angels were acting as ersatz "security" for the event, paid in the beer they consumed heavily while "on-duty.") A documentary of the concert, which captured the murder on film during the set by The Rolling Stones, was also titled Gimme Shelter, but their actual performance of the song is not shown.

Andrew Eldritch, front-man of the Sisters of Mercy, has indicated that the Altamont concert was influential in their decision to cover the song. In one interview he explained inarticulately, "Altamont's very important. If there's a part of history where rock music stopped for a second and we began. If there's a point where the seeds of what we do were sown, it's probably Altamont, cause it encapsulated everything wonderful at the time. The good things and the bad things, and a lot of both. It's when the trip turned sour and it's when the best music was."
The Sisters of Mercy version of Gimme Shelter was released in 1983, one of two tracks on the B-side of their Temple of Love 12-inch single. Later it was included on their 1992 compilation, Some Girls Wander By Mistake.

Where the Stones seem to intend the track as warning of the threat of continued warfare and violence in favor of the free-love attitudes prevalent in the counter-culture of the 60's, Sisters of Mercy's take is far more cynical. One of the unique elements of their cover is that they swapped the positions of the words "kiss" and "shot" in the lyrics, accentuating an idea that the threat so portentous in the original has already become our reality and even "free-love" could be a danger in itself. It's a dark and foreboding interpretation, heavy with all the gloom and gothic atmosphere that inherent to their signature style.

The Cover:

The Original:

Next week:
Recently, a patron of one of the events I spin made a critique of me as a DJ that I never play the deep tracks of a particular industrial band they always request. They went on to say, "I should have requested a COVER by them, THEN you'd play it," then admitting they didn't know if the band in question had done any covers. Well... they have. And next week you could be "crying" (possibly with laughter or in astonishment) when you find out which band and what they've done! ^_^

Comments, suggestions, discussions, etc... welcome! (You do NOT need a Dreamwidth account to comment, but all comments are screened for spam prevention.)

I'll be spinning in Western Mass this Friday again. As always you can find details and links on my schedule. ^_^

Explore the darkness,

Previous DisCOVERies

May 14 - Torso - Nijinski [Nijinsky] (Daniel Darc)
May 07 - Faderhead - SexyBack (Justin Timberlake)
Apr 30 - Forevel - It's No Good (Depeche Mode)
Apr 23 - Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross w/ Karen O - Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin)
Apr 16 - Type O Negative - Cinnamon Girl (Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse)
Apr 09 - PreCog - Pepper (Butthole Surfers)

Directory of All Previous DisCOVERies
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seedarklyxero: SDXeroEye with glow (Default)
DJ Xero, Operative of SeeDarkly™

October 2017

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