Paint It Black
|"Paint It Black"|
|Single by The Rolling Stones|
|from the album Aftermath (American version)|
|B-side||"Long Long While" (UK)
"Stupid Girl" (US)
|Released||7 May 1966 (US)
13 May 1966 (UK)
|Recorded||6–9 March 1966, RCA Studios, Hollywood, California|
|Genre||Psychedelic rock, raga rock|
|Length||3:45 (mono single mix)
3:22 (stereo album mix)
London 45-LON.901 (US)
|Producer(s)||Andrew Loog Oldham|
|The Rolling Stones singles chronology|
"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. Although originally titled without a comma, the release version was styled "Paint It, Black". Keith Richards has stated that the comma was added by the record label, Decca, and that the comma stirred confusion and potential controversy with some listeners: "There were some weird letters, racial letters. 'Was there a comma in the title? Was it an order to the world?'" 
The song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Jagger wrote the lyrics and Richards wrote the music. Bill Wyman states 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 UK Singles Chart 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 drum 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 a 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. A piano part was played by Jack Nitzsche but it's inaudible in the final mix.
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 did not 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".
"Paint It Black" has appeared on numerous Stones compilations, including Hot Rocks 1964-1971 (1971), 30 Greatest Hits (1977), Singles Collection: The London Years (1989), Forty Licks (2002), and GRRR! (2012). Live recordings are featured on the concert albums Flashpoint (1991), Live Licks (2004), Shine a Light (2008), and Sweet Summer Sun: Hyde Park Live (2013). The song was also featured in the music video games Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock and Rocksmith 2014, as well as the 2001 video game Twisted Metal: Black. The song plays over the end credits of the film Full Metal Jacket and during the end credits of the film The Devil's Advocate, and was used as the opening theme song to the television series Tour of Duty. This song was also featured on the Call of Duty: Black Ops III teaser trailer, which was released on April 26, 2015.
|Austrian Singles Chart||2|
|Canada RPM Chart||1|
|Finnish Singles Chart||2|
|German Single Charts||2|
|Irish Singles Chart||2|
|Dutch Top 40||1|
|UK Singles Chart||1|
|US Billboard Hot 100||1|
|Dutch Top 40||1|
|UK Singles Chart||61|
- Mick Jagger – lead vocals
- Brian Jones – sitar, percussion
- Keith Richards – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
- Bill Wyman – bass pedals, bass guitar, Hammond B3
- Charlie Watts – drums
Eric Burdon & War version
|"Paint It Black"|
|Single by Eric Burdon & War|
|from the album The Black Man's Burdon|
|B-side||"Nights in White Satin"|
|Genre||Latin, psychedelic, R&B, funk|
|Eric Burdon & War singles chronology|
Before Eric Burdon & War's 1970 version reached the charts in Netherlands, Eric Burdon covered it on the 1967 Eric Burdon & The Animals 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 performed it also on his "Hippiefest" tour in 2008.
|Dutch Top 40||31|
Other cover versions
- Single releases
- 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.
- In 2015, Brittany Marie released a country rock cover version.
- 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.
- The London Symphony Orchestra released an orchestral cover of the song on its 1977 LP Classic Rock (album)
- 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 turbo-folk singer Dragan Kojić Keba covered this song on Serbian language on his 1994 album Sve ću tuge poneti sa sobom, with lyrics "U crno obojeno".
- 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.
- 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.
- Japanese-American singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada sampled a line of this song for the song "Amai Wana" off her first Japanese album First Love.
- 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.
- Finnish comedy rock band Sleepy Sleepers covered the song in Finnish language under name Kaapataan lentokone Moskovaan (Hi-Jacking an Airplane to Moscow) in 1978. They managed to cause an international scandal, and subsequently Sleepy Sleepers was banned in Finnish Broadcasting Corporation, YLE, until 1989 and break-up of USSR.
- The song is covered on Hayseed Dixie's 2007 album Weapons of Grass Destruction.
- "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
- Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 101. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
- Mark Paytress, The Rolling Stones: off the record, pp 108-109. Omnibus Press, 2003, ISBN 0711988692. Retrieved March 17, 2010.
- Robert Greenfield, The Rolling Stone Interviews, p. 172. St. Martin's Press/Rolling Stone Press, 1981, ISBN 0312689551. 1971.
- Keith Richards – In His Own Words by Mick St Michael, Omnibus Press, 1994, page 26. ISBN 0-7119-3634-X
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 191. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Track Talk: Paint It Black", Time Is On Our Side (Ian McPherson), retrieved 17 April 2012
- Thomas Forget, The Rolling Stones, pp 53-54. The Rosen Publishing Group, 2003, ISBN 0-8239-3644-9. Retrieved 14 May 2010.
- "charts.de". Retrieved 8 June 2013.
- "irishcharts.ie". Retrieved November 16, 2008.
- "Nederlandse Top 40, week 24, 1966 (Dutch)". Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- "Nederlandse Top 40, week 21, 1990 (Dutch)". Retrieved 26 April 2009.
- "Official website". The Rolling Stones. Retrieved 2014-04-06.
- Stone Alone - Bill Wyman
- Rolling With The Stones - Bill Wyman
- "Eric Burdon & War: ‘Paint It Black’". Dangerous Minds. 28 February 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
- "Nederlandse Top 40, week 20, 1971 (Dutch)". Retrieved 26 April 2009.
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