I know, I know, this is a heavy metal site! Why on earth do I keep picking weird genres for the Song of the Day? Well, because there are lots of great non-metal songs out there! Take, for example, “Beautiful Scars,” by Merry Clayton. I just recently learned about this woman – a legendary backing vocalist known for her astounding role in THE ROLLING STONES‘ “Gimme Shelter” – so it was nice that she had just released her first solo album since 1994 right when I learned about her. The highlight of the album is of course the title track and today’s Song of the Day, “Beautiful Scars,” which has some of the most lovely, empowering lyrics of the modern age!
Before we talk about this song, I just want to talk about this woman… nay, this heroine, for a moment. Merry Clayton made her name in the ’60s as a backing vocalist recording with or performing with a variety of artists, like Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles. She is most well known for her performance in “Gimme Shelter,” where she was legendarily called in at near midnight and showed up in her silk pajamas and curlers, pregnant, and knocked the socks off THE ROLLING STONES and their recording team. You may also be familiar with “Sweet Home Alabama” by LYNYRD SKYNYRD… well, Merry Clayton is singing backing vocals on that song too! What else can I tell you about this woman? How about that she lost her legs from the knees down in a severe car accident in 2014, yet is still standing strong (so to speak) and belting it out at full power. What an inspiration!
“Beautiful Scars” is nothing short of an emotionally packed empowerment anthem to profess one’s acceptance of what they’ve been through in their life. It is a song that expresses a deep and profound understanding that you can’t appreciate the sun without a little rain. That is to say, the shit we go through in life is what makes us strong and makes us who we are. Everyone needs this reminder these days, to stand up tall and proud and be yourself and what you’ve survived, unabashedly. At a healthy dose of Merry Clayton‘s beautiful and powerful voice and you’ve got yourself one hell of a tear-jerker of a single.
There’s something magical about the artists who chose to sing with the ones in the spotlight, rather than taking the spotlight themselves, so solo albums like “Beautiful Scars” feel extra-special, as these backing vocalists take a little dose of that spotlight and show off how amazing they are. If gospel and soul strike your fancy, don’t let Merry Clayton or her new album slip past your radar!