Jason Isbell covers The Rolling Stones’ hit ‘Gimme Shelter’ in memory of Charlie Watts

The legendary drummer died earlier this week, aged 80

Alabama country-rocker Jason Isbell has performed a cover of The Rolling Stones’ 1969 classic ‘Gimme Shelter’, dedicating it to the late, great, Charlie Watts, who died earlier this week at age 80.

Currently touring the US in support of their 2020 album ‘Reunions’, Isbell and his band, The 400 Unit – alongside support act Brittney Spencer – performed the cover at their show in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Thursday night (August 26).

Check out a crowd recording of the group performing ‘Gimme Shelter’ below, then have a listen to the Stones’ original version:


‘Gimme Shelter’ first appeared on the Stones’ eighth album, ‘Let It Bleed’. Though it was never released as a single, the track became a favourite amongst fans and critics alike, racking up dozens of high-profile covers throughout the years.

Amongst the most notable include takes by Puddle Of Mudd and the Liam Gallagher-fronted Beady Eye, as well as a performance by Lady Gaga backed by the Stones themselves.

Isbell is one of many acclaimed artists to have shared their memories of Watts’ influence over the last few days. Others include Paul McCartney, Ronnie Wood, Pete Townshend of The Who, Ben Thatcher of Royal Blood, Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, Matt Cameron of Pearl Jam, Lars Ulrich of Metallica and Bill Wyman, as well as his bandmates.

Watts had played in the Rolling Stones since 1963. He was the only member of the legendary British rock band alongside Mick Jagger and Keith Richards to have featured on all of their studio albums to date, the last being the 2016 covers record ‘Blue & Lonesome’.


Earlier this week, the Stones confirmed that they’re set to play their upcoming US tour dates as planned. It was announced prior to his death that Watts wouldn’t join the band due to health complications, with his bandmates sharing messages of support. Longtime associate Steve Jordan was announced to be replacing him on drums for the 13-date tour.

Yesterday, the Stones shared a new video paying tribute to Watts, featuring a clip in which he ruminates on how he ended up joining the band.

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit kicked off a 40-date world tour earlier this month. Isbell announced on August 10 that fans wouldn’t be allowed entry to the shows if they weren’t vaccinated against COVID-19, subsequently cancelling a show in Houston, Texas after the venue refused to “comply” with his policy.

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