Meaning of the song Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones

The famous “Paint It Black” by The Rolling Stones is considered by many to be one of the most mysterious compositions of the legendary rock band. For fans of the group, it causes different associations.

For some, it’s a song about the Vietnam War. Others see in it allusions to the confrontation with the communists, the Catholic religion, visiting brothels and something else. Interestingly, the Rolling Stones didn’t tell too little about the history of the song’s creation, but at the same time, their explanations did not shed much light on its true meaning.

The history of creation and the meaning of the song Paint It Black

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are believed to be the authors of Paint It Black, although there is an opinion that other members of the group also helped to compose the song. Where they drew their inspiration from is anyone’s guess, but sources include legendary musician Bob Dylan, occult writer Dennis Wheatley, and avant-garde artist Ed Reinhard.

From the lyrics of the song Paint It Black, you can understand that it is performed on behalf of a man whose beloved has died. The bright colors of the surrounding world are so out of harmony with his condition that he wants to paint over everything black.

Where did the other interpretations of Paint It Black come from? They appeared because of the desire of the band’s fans to find an explanation for literally every word. Really, what red door is Mick Jagger singing about? Does it lead to a church, a brothel, or does it refer us to the red Soviet flag? Decide for yourself. It is possible that there is nothing behind these words at all.

Paint It Black was associated with Vietnam only in the late 1980s, when it featured in the Vietnam War film Full Metal Jacket and the Vietnam War television series Tour of Duty. However, many American veterans who took part in the hostilities recall that for them the song had a special meaning even during their service, as it accurately reflected the mood that reigned in their ranks.

Musically, Paint It Black is remembered, first of all, by Brian Jones playing the sitar. He became interested in this oriental instrument after visiting George Harrison. According to Keith Richards, it was “Brian’s playing the sitar that did the whole song”.

Recording and release

Paint It Black was released in May 1966 as the first single from the Aftermath album. She soon topped the US and UK charts. A new wave of success awaited the song in 1990, when it reappeared on the charts in several countries.

Rolling Stone ranked Paint It Black at number 176 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Clip Paint It Black

Check out the music video for “Paint It Black” by The Rolling Stones.

Interesting Facts

  • Paint It Black is one of the early songs of The Rolling Stones, the rights to which are fully owned by their former manager Allen Klein.
  • The record company Decca made a mistake in writing the name with a comma – Paint It, Black, which changed its meaning (“Paint it black” instead of “Paint it black”).
  • Paint It Black is featured in the movie The Devil’s Advocate.
  • The Animals performed Paint It Black at the Monterey Rock Festival.

Paint It Black The Rolling Stones Lyrics

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors 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 ev’ryday

I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door and it’s been 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 colors 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 wanna see it painted black, 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

Paint It Black The Rolling Stones lyrics

I see a red door and I want to paint it black
No more colors, I want them to turn black
I see girls in summer dresses passing by
I have to turn away until the sullenness leaves me

I see a line of cars and they’re all black
With flowers and my love that will never return
I see people turn in my direction and quickly look away
Like the birth of a baby, it happens every day

I look inside myself and see my heart has turned black
I see my red door and it’s been painted black too
Maybe then I’ll waste away and not have to face the facts
It’s not easy to take them when your whole world is black

Never again will my green sea turn dark blue
I couldn’t have foreseen that something like this would happen to you.
If I gaze hard enough into the setting sun,
My love will laugh with me until the dawn

I see a red door and I want to paint it black
No more colors, I want them to turn black
I see girls in summer dresses passing by
I have to turn away until the sullenness leaves me

I want it all blacked out, blacked out
Black as night, black as coal
I want the sun in the sky filled with ink
I want it painted over, painted over, painted over, painted over black

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