"Paint It, Black" is a song released by The Rolling Stones on 13 May 1966 as the first single from the US version of their fourth album Aftermath. It was originally titled "Paint It Black" without a comma. Keith Richards has stated that the comma was added by the record label, Decca.
At a book signing in Nashville in 2001, Bill Wyman explained that the comma was simply a typographical error that stuck.
The song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Mick Jagger wrote the lyrics and Keith Richards wrote the music.
Bill Wyman claims in his books that the song was a group effort although it was credited to Jagger/Richards.
The single reached number one in both the United States and the United Kingdom charts in 1966. In 2004 it was ranked number 176 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In the US and UK, it was the first number one single to feature a sitar.
History and composition
The song acquired its distinctive rhythm when Wyman, looking for a way to "fatten up" the bass sound, began playing with his fists on the pedals of an organ during the recording session. Richards said Wyman was doing a take-off of their first manager who started out as an cinema organist. Brian Jones played the song's signature sitar riff, and Jagger contributed to the lyrics, which he has said are about a girl's funeral. Both electric and acoustic guitars and the background vocals are provided by Richards. The piano is played by Jack Nitzsche.
Keith Richards has also been quoted as saying "we cut it as a comedy track". He said they started out playing it in a kind of "funky rhythm" which didn't work. They then played around with it to how it appears on the record. He says that "Brian playing the sitar makes the whole thing".
The bass was also overdubbed by Bill Wyman playing on the bass pedals of a Hammond B3 organ.
Eric Burdon & War version
Before Eric Burdon & War's 1970 version reached the charts in Netherlands, Eric Burdon & The Animals covered it in 1967 for their debut album, Winds of Change; they also performed a 12:40 version on German TV in 1970. The original album version of Eric Burdon & War had a length of 13:41.
Eric Burdon & The Animals performed it at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. This version was cut and included in the motion picture of the festival. They performed it also on the BBC.
Eric Burdon performed it also on his "Hippiefest" tour in 2008.
Other cover versions
- In 1966, Marie Laforêt did a French cover called "Marie-douceur, Marie-colère".
- In 1968, Chris Farlowe released a cover version, produced by Mick Jagger, as a single.
- The Mo-dettes released a version on the Deram label in 1980. It reached Number 42 on the UK singles chart.
- Punk band the Avengers released a cover of the song in 1983, first as the A-side of a single, then on their self-titled album.
- Indie bubblegum girl band Supercute! covered the song, and filmed a music video for it in 2011.
- Caterina Caselli had some success with an Italian version of "Paint It, Black", titled "Tutto nero", in 1966.
Album tracks and single B-sides
- Los Angeles-based rock band The Standells covered "Paint It, Black" on their album Dirty Water, released in 1966. This version replaces the line "With flowers and my love, both never to come back", instead repeating "I see a red door and I want it painted black".
- The alternative metal band Destrophy covered the song for their Pray EP, and re-released it on their self-titled album.
- The band W.A.S.P. included a cover on the reissue of their debut album.
- The Feelies released a version on their 1980 Crazy Rhythms album.
- The melodic death metal band The Black Dahlia Murder covered the song on their EP A Cold-Blooded Epitaph.
- Glenn Tipton covered it on his album Baptizm of Fire.
- The metalcore band The Agony Scene included a cover on their self-titled album.
- In 1969, Czech singer Karel Gott released a German version of the song, titled "Rot und schwarz" (Red and Black), on his album In mir klingt ein Lied.
- Bahamian musician Exuma covered the song on his 1973 album Life.
- Flamin' Groovies covered this song on their 1978 album Flamin' Groovies Now.
- Spanish duo Azúcar Moreno released a cover on the CD version of their 1991 album Mambo.
- U2 released a cover of the song as a B-side to their 1992 single "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses".
- Band of Susans released a cover on their 1992 Now EP.
- Serbian singer Dragan Kojić Keba covered this song on his 1994 album Sve ću tuge poneti sa sobom.
- British goth rockers Inkubus Sukkubus included the song on their 1997 album Vampyre Erotica.
- Canadian punk rock band Gob covered the song on their 1998 album How Far Shallow Takes You.
- The Unseen covered the song on their album State of Discontent.
- The groove metal band Grip Inc. covered it on their album Incorporated.
- Psychobilly band The Lucky Devils released a cover in 2000, on their album Time Passes By.
- Avant garde band The Residents covered the song on their 2000 album Dot.Com.
- The Tea Party released a cover in 2000 on the album Tangents: The Tea Party Collection.
- Ottmar Liebert recorded an instrumental flamenco version in 2001.
- Singer and songwriter Vanessa Carlton released a cover of the song on her 2002 debut album Be Not Nobody.
- In 2003, the Tumult record label released an album called Painted Black, entirely consisting of versions of "Paint It, Black" by avant-garde artists, including Circle, Acid Mothers Temple, Fennesz, Hrvatski, The Joy Of Disease, Kit Clayton, Stilluppsteypa, Mieskuoro Huutajat, The Tape-beatles, Troum, and Loren Chasse.
- Sister Sin covered the song on their first album, Dance of the Wicked.
- Rock band Deadsy released a cover on their 2006 album Phantasmagore.
- VersaEmerge covered the song on the compilation album Punk Goes Classic Rock.
- Punk band Last Laugh released a cover version on their album No Regrets.
- Ali Campbell covered the song on his 2010 album Great British Songs.
- Canadian metal band Anvil covered the song on their album Hard 'n' Heavy.
- American deathrock group Astrovamps included a cover of the song on their album Amerikan Gothick.
- Industrial metal band Ministry released a cover of the song on their 2010 compilation album Every Day Is Halloween: The Anthology.
- Marduk covered the song.
- The band Firewater covered the song on their 2004 album Songs We Should Have Written, which is a compilation of covers. Firewater's version includes a sitar and other ethnic instruments.
- The Mighty Lemon Drops released a cover.
- German heavy metal band Rage covered the song on their 1998 album XIII.
- The song was covered and translated on Ukrainian by singer-songwriter Yuriy Veres 2012 album 60/70.
- Reggae rock band The Dirty Heads released a cover of the song on their web site.
- Rock duo Everything Else released a cover on Youtube.
- "Paint It, Black" plays under the closing credits of the movie Full Metal Jacket.
- The movie The Devil's Advocate also uses the song during its closing credits.
- In the movie Stir of Echoes, Kevin Bacon plays a character who is haunted by visions of a teenage girl's murder. During the visions, Bacon's character hears the opening chords of the song, though he is unable to identify it. Gob's cover of the song is on the film's soundtrack album.
- "Paint It, Black" was used as the opening theme of the CBS television series Tour of Duty.
- An episode of CSI: Miami, from the series's ninth season, is titled "Paint It Black".
- The song is used in the opening screen and closing credits of the videogame Twisted Metal: Black.
- It is also used in the opening sequence of the videogame Conflict: Vietnam.
- An achievement in the Xbox 360 game Fruit Ninja Kinect is named "I Want To Paint It Black".
- The song was used in a commercial for Dior Homme Sport cologne.
- Cincinnati Reds All-Star first baseman Joey Votto's walkup song is "Paint It, Black".
- Used by Spencer Watson in his winning AKA Open Individual Indoor Unlimited performance at the 12th Annual Windless Kite Festival, January 18, 19, and 20 2013.
- ^ "The Top Psychedelic Songs". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/explore/style/psychedelic-d380/songs.
- ^ ""Paint It, Black" a glorious Indian raga-rock riot that will send the Stones back to #1", Nicholas Schaffner, The British invasion: from the first wave to the new wave, (McGraw-Hill, 1982) ISBN 0-07-055089-1
- ^ a b Mark Paytress, The Rolling Stones: off the record, pp 108-109. Omnibus Press, 2003, ISBN 0711988692. http://books.google.com/books?id=toSbe1xQxToC&pg=PA109&lpg=PA109&dq=%22paint+it+black%22+comma&source=web&ots=2-0R9xqzWB&sig=iPEQDBPz-zGJzbYTkeTTRdutRs8. Retrieved March 17, 2010.
- ^ a b c Keith Richards – In His Own Words by Mick St Michael, Omnibus Press, 1994, page 26. ISBN 0-7119-3634-X
- ^ "Track Talk: Paint It Black", Time Is On Our Side (Ian McPherson), http://www.timeisonourside.com/SOPaintIt.html, retrieved 17 April 2012
- ^ Thomas Forget, The Rolling Stones, pp 53-54. The Rosen Publishing Group, 2003, ISBN 0-8239-3644-9. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=k27BVJZzIwoC&pg=PA1962&dq=%22rolling+stones%22+Thomas+Forget+middle+eastern&cd=1#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
- ^ "Nederlandse Top 40, week 24, 1966 (Dutch)". http://www.top40.nl/index.aspx?week=24&jaar=1966. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- ^ "irishcharts.ie". http://www.irishcharts.ie. Retrieved November 16, 2008.
- ^ "Nederlandse Top 40, week 21, 1990 (Dutch)". http://www.top40.nl/index.aspx?week=21&jaar=1990. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- ^ "Eric Burdon & War: ‘Paint It Black’". Dangerous Minds. 28 February 2012. http://www.dangerousminds.net/comments/eric_burdon_war_paint_it_black. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
- ^ "Nederlandse Top 40, week 20, 1971 (Dutch)". http://www.top40.nl/index.aspx?week=20&jaar=1971. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- ^ "Spencer Watson AKA Open Individual Indoor Unlimited competition". MTP Studios. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnI5iwsyM9U. Retrieved 4 February 2013.