I've always loved this song (written by Jagger/Richards, and released on the Stones' Let It Bleed album towards the end of 1969), and, as you probably already know, I'm very fond of Playing for Change, too. They are good enough reasons for me to link it here in this blog.
But how can we use it in our lessons, you might ask. Well, think about it and tell me!
I can think of numerous ideas - I'll just give you a few clues.
Before you even start playing the song, look at the title, 'Playing for Change'. What is change? What does playing for change mean? What does this organisation stand for? How did it start?
Then, the title of the song, 'Gimme shelter'. What's 'gimme'? What's shelter? What collocations can you think of? What do you think the song is about?
There is also the caption: It is in the shelter of each other that the people live
Have you heard of it? It's an Irish proverb. What do you think the 'shelter' here refers to? Why the definite article in 'the people'?
Finally, make sure they know what 'sign up' and 'mailing list' are.
So, even before you play the song, there's enough material for a whole lesson, depending on your class.
So, you've played the song; you've rocked the building, the DOS has come to see what's going on..., now what do you do?
Where were the musicians from? Can you name the country and nationality? How many instruments appeared in the video? How many can you name? Webquest: find out the names of those you don't know. Which instrument did you like best? Which performer? Which singer?
Diagnose the lyrics. Focus on phrases such as:
- a storm is threat'ning my very life today
- I'm gonna fade away
- It's such a shot away
- the whole of the third verse
The whole song is very metaphoric. Elicit interpretation. Elicit more examples. Get them to write more verses in groups. Choose the best.
More stuff you can use: