Cymbre Hendrix

Written by Cymbre Hendrix

Modified & Updated: 01 Jun 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Merry Clayton is a name synonymous with talent, soul, and a powerful voice that has captivated audiences for decades. As a celebrated singer and songwriter, she has left an indelible mark on the music industry with her incredible vocal range and emotive performances. With a career spanning over 50 years, Clayton has worked with some of the biggest names in music and has achieved remarkable success both as a solo artist and as a sought-after backup vocalist.

In this article, we delve into the life and career of Merry Clayton, uncovering eight fascinating facts that showcase her incredible journey in the world of music. From her iconic contributions to legendary songs to her inspiring resilience in the face of adversity, we explore the depth and brilliance of this extraordinary artist. So, let’s dive into the world of Merry Clayton and discover the remarkable story behind her legendary voice.

Key Takeaways:

  • Merry Clayton, known for her iconic voice on “Gimme Shelter,” began as a backup singer for legends like Ray Charles and Elvis Presley, earning praise as one of rock and roll’s greatest voices.
  • Despite a tragic miscarriage and a devastating car accident, Merry Clayton’s resilience and talent have solidified her as a legendary vocalist, gracing the soundtracks of films and captivating audiences worldwide.
Table of Contents

Merry Clayton started her career as a backup singer.

Merry Clayton began her singing journey as a backup vocalist, lending her powerful and soulful voice to artists like Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, and Carole King.

Merry Clayton’s iconic voice can be heard on “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones.

Merry Clayton’s captivating vocals can be found on one of The Rolling Stones’ most popular songs, “Gimme Shelter.” Her powerful performance added a haunting and unforgettable element to the track.

Merry Clayton received critical acclaim for her performance in the documentary film “20 Feet from Stardom.”

In the critically acclaimed documentary film “20 Feet from Stardom,” Merry Clayton’s incredible talent and career as a backup singer were highlighted, earning her widespread recognition and praise.

Merry Clayton’s voice has been described as a “siren” and “one of the greatest voices in rock and roll.”

With her incredible vocal range and soulful delivery, Merry Clayton’s voice has garnered high praise from music critics, who often refer to it as a “siren” and consider her one of the greatest voices in rock and roll.

Merry Clayton has worked with iconic artists such as Ray Charles, Carole King, and Joe Cocker.

Throughout her career, Merry Clayton has collaborated with legendary artists, including Ray Charles, Carole King, and Joe Cocker, solidifying her status as a highly sought-after and respected vocalist.

Merry Clayton’s music has been featured in numerous films and TV shows.

Merry Clayton’s powerful and emotive songs have graced the soundtracks of various films and TV shows, adding depth and emotion to memorable scenes and moments.

Merry Clayton’s performance in the duet with Mick Jagger on “Gimme Shelter” resulted in a miscarriage.

During the recording of “Gimme Shelter,” Merry Clayton’s passionate vocal performance was so intense that it led to a miscarriage. This tragic event added a haunting layer of depth to her already legendary performance.

Merry Clayton made a comeback after a devastating car accident.

After a serious car accident in 2014 that claimed both of her legs, Merry Clayton demonstrated incredible resilience and determination, making a triumphant comeback and continuing to captivate audiences with her unmistakable voice.


From her powerful vocals to her inspiring journey, Merry Clayton is truly a remarkable artist in the music industry. With a career spanning several decades, Clayton has left a lasting impact on the world of music. Her unforgettable performance in the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” and her solo work are testaments to her incredible talent and passion.

Through her perseverance and determination, Clayton has overcome various challenges and has continued to shine as a celebrated vocalist. Her contributions to the music industry will be remembered for generations to come. Merry Clayton is a true icon and her remarkable story is a testament to the power of passion, talent, and perseverance.


Q: What is Merry Clayton known for?

A: Merry Clayton is known for her soul-stirring vocals and her powerful performance in the Rolling Stones’ song “Gimme Shelter.” She has also released several solo albums and has collaborated with other renowned artists.

Q: What genre of music does Merry Clayton sing?

A: Merry Clayton sings various genres of music, including soul, gospel, and R&B. Her versatile voice allows her to excel in different styles of music.

Q: Was Merry Clayton inducted into any Hall of Fame?

A: While Merry Clayton has not been inducted into any Hall of Fame, her contributions to the music industry have been widely recognized and celebrated.

Q: Did Merry Clayton release any solo albums?

A: Yes, Merry Clayton has released several solo albums throughout her career. Some of her notable solo works include “Merry Clayton” and “Emotion.”

Q: What is Merry Clayton’s most famous song?

A: Merry Clayton’s most famous song is her captivating performance in the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.” Her powerful vocals in this song have become iconic in the music industry.

If you're captivated by Merry Clayton's incredible journey, why not explore more fascinating stories from the world of music? Dive into the soulful atmosphere of Italy's Porretta Soul Festival, where passionate artists keep the spirit of soul music alive. For a deeper look at Clayton's most famous collaboration, check out our article on the making of "Gimme Shelter," a true rock classic. And if you're curious about her roots in gospel music, don't miss our piece on the Gospel Music Workshop of America, a vital institution that has nurtured countless talented singers like Clayton.

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