About the song

Ah, Paint It, Black. Released in 1966, this iconic song by The Rolling Stones is a landmark in rock and roll history. It marked a significant departure from their earlier, more blues-oriented sound, venturing into a darker, more psychedelic territory.

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Paint It, Black is the brainchild of the band’s legendary songwriting duo, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Composed during a particularly prolific period, the song emerged from a period of experimentation for the Stones. They were delving into the burgeoning counterculture scene, absorbing influences from Eastern music and exploring the potential of studio techniques.

The song’s introduction is what truly sets it apart. Gone are the familiar, driving rhythms of their early hits. Instead, we’re greeted by a haunting sitar riff, played by the late Brian Jones. This was a groundbreaking moment in rock music. The sitar, a traditional Indian instrument, had rarely been featured so prominently in a Western rock song. Its inclusion not only established a mood of Eastern mysticism but also reflected the growing interest in psychedelic music, which often incorporated elements from non-Western cultures.

As the sitar fades, the unmistakable thump of Charlie Watts’ drums kicks in, joined by the distorted, fuzz-laden guitar of Keith Richards. This creates a sense of tension and unease, perfectly complementing the song’s lyrical themes.

Paint It, Black is not your typical rock and roll love song. The lyrics, penned by Jagger, delve into a world of despair and isolation. The protagonist is consumed by a sense of hopelessness, yearning for a world devoid of color ā€“ a world “painted black”. There’s a strong undercurrent of ambiguity in the lyrics, allowing for multiple interpretations. Some see it as a lament for a lost love, while others view it as a broader commentary on the disillusionment felt by a generation raised on post-war optimism but facing a world fraught with social and political turmoil.

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The song’s enduring appeal lies in its ability to capture a range of emotions. It’s both catchy and unsettling, melodic yet raw. The innovative use of the sitar and the band’s powerful performance combine to create a soundscape that is both timeless and evocative. Paint It, Black transcended the boundaries of rock and roll, becoming a cultural touchstone and a testament to the Stones’ ability to push boundaries and redefine rock music.



“Paint It Black”

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colours anymore, I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by, dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

I see a line of cars and they’re all painted black
With flowers and my love both never to come back
I see people turn their heads and quickly look away
Like a newborn baby, it just happens every day

I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door, I must have it painted black
Maybe then I’ll fade away and not have to face the facts
It’s not easy facing up when your whole world is black

No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue
I could not foresee this thing happening to you
If I look hard enough into the setting sun
My love will laugh with me before the morning comes

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colours anymore, I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by, dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

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Hmm, hmm, hmm…

I wanna see it painted, painted black
Black as night, black as coal
I wanna see the sun blotted out from the sky
I wanna see it painted, painted, painted, painted black


Hmm, hmm, hmm…