"Merry, are you busy?" asked the voice on the other end of the line.

"No. I'm in bed," was her reply.

Session singer Merry Clayton was in her pajamas snuggled alongside her husband when her phone rang around midnight.

"Well, there are some guys in town from England," explained the voice on the phone, "and they need someone to sing with them. Could you come?"

It was some band she'd never heard of before. Her husband took the phone at that point and asked, "Man, what is going on? This time of night you're calling Merry to do a session? You know she's pregnant?"

As she started drifting off to sleep, she felt a nudge.

"Honey, you should really do this date."

And so Merry Clayton got up and went to that studio to sing for The Rolling Stones. Months

pregnant, still in her pajamas, her hair in curlers, she sang. And who can forget the way she sang, "Rape! Murder! It's just a shot away!"?

It was to become the most famous performance of her career. And one of the most tragic as well. Shortly after leaving the studio, Merry Clayton lost her baby in a miscarriage.

It makes me think of something Ursula K. Le Guin once wrote, “When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.”