Paint It Black: A Song of Heartbreak and Despair
Paint It Black is a classic hit single by The Rolling Stones, which was released in 1966. The song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for two weeks in June 1966 and remained a top 40 hit for 11 weeks. Over the years, it has become one of the most iconic and memorable Stones’ songs, thanks to its unique musical style, lyrical depth and raw emotion.
The Inspiration Behind “Paint It Black”
The inspiration behind Paint It Black was not a happy one. The song was born out of heartbreak and despair. Both Jagger and Richards were going through a difficult time in their personal lives when they started working on it. The Vietnam War was raging on, and the world seemed to be in turmoil. Jagger had just broken up with his girlfriend, Chrissie Shrimpton, and Richards was dealing with the illness of his newborn son.
The mood in the studio was somber and melancholic. The band was looking for a new sound to match the dark and gloomy feelings they were experiencing. Jagger and Richards found what they were looking for in a Middle Eastern song that had a simple and repetitive melody with a haunting sound. They began to adapt the melody, and a few weeks later, Paint It Black was born.
The Lyrical Depth of “Paint It Black”
Paint It Black is a song of despair, heartbreak, and death. The lyrics paint a picture of a person who has lost someone they love and is struggling to cope with the aftermath. The singer is consumed with grief, and everything they see reminds them of their loss. The lyrics, “I see a red door and I want it painted black,” convey the depth of despair and the need to shut out the world that the singer is experiencing.
The phrase, “No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue,” is a reference to the loss of innocence and the blurring of reality that the singer is experiencing. The line, “I could not foresee this thing happening to you,” highlights the shock and disbelief that often accompanies sudden loss.
The Dark and Haunting Musical Style of “Paint It Black”
One of the defining features of Paint It Black is its dark and haunting musical style. The hypnotic melody is played on a sitar, which gives the song a distinctive and otherworldly sound. The use of the sitar was inspired by the film score for the movie “Dr. No,” which was composed by John Barry.
The sitar is joined by Charlie Watts’ drums, Bill Wyman’s bass guitar, Brian Jones’ guitar, and Ian Stewart’s piano. The combination of these instruments creates a unique and powerful sound, which perfectly complements the lyrics.
The Legacy of “Paint It Black”
Over the years, Paint It Black has become one of The Rolling Stones’ most significant and beloved hits. It has been covered by many artists, including U2, The Black Keys, and Ozzy Osbourne. The song has also been used in film and television, including the opening credits of the television show “Tour of Duty” and in several movie soundtracks, such as “Full Metal Jacket.”
Paint It Black’s musical style and lyrical content have made it an enduring classic that continues to resonate with audiences today. The song’s universal themes of love, loss, and despair continue to speak to people across generations and cultures.
The Final Word
In conclusion, Paint it Black is a song that explores the depths of heartbreak and despair. It is a powerful reminder of the pain and grief that are part of the human experience. The song’s unique musical style and haunting lyrics have made it one of The Rolling Stones’ most memorable hits and a timeless classic. Whether you’re a fan of The Rolling Stones or not, Paint It Black is a song that everyone should experience at least once in their lives.