About the Songwriter


Verse 5, continued

In the documentary film of the concert—1970's Gimme Shelter (the title taken from the Stones song of the same name)—two concerned young men in the audience can be seen pleading with Jagger to end the show, which he defiantly refuses to do. By the end of the film Jagger is indicted as the key figure who could have brought the violence to a close by simply leaving the stage and ending the concert; whether this might have incited a riot in itself is difficult to say.

And as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
No angel born in hell
Could break that Satan's spell

Watching Gimme Shelter one can see that the audience is spellbound by the Stones (just as many were easily carried along by the youth movement's promises), and many of them storm the stage throughout the day; the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang ("No angel born in hell"), hired as security for the concert, violently defend the stage, but to little avail. Jagger is used in the song as the catalyst for the anarchy unfolding, both at the concert and symbolically in the youth culture at large.

And as the flames climbed high into the night
To moonlight the sacrificial rite

As a black man in the audience wielding a gun moves towards the stage, Hell's Angels intercept and stab him to death—the "sacrificial rite." But the sacrifice being offered here is also the burning down of the remnants of the old social order. The Stones, unaware of what is happening, continue to play. And a song they performed shortly before this event—Sympathy for the Devil—serves to further underscore Jagger's satanic aura:


Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what's confusing you
Is just the nature of my game

Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me Lucifer
'Cause I'm in need of some restraint

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