Paint it Black

PaintitblackThe Rolling Stones song Paint it Black was released in 1966 – nearly half a century ago.  I first heard it many years after its release and it has remained one of my favourite songs of all time.

During my research for this article I found a version by Eric Burdon and the Animals who I remember for House of the Rising Sun. Recently I heard a wonderful version by Vanessa Carlton which I have included later in this article.

I remember the original version by the Rolling Stones used a sitar (the Indian stringed instrument) played by Brian Jones. The Beatles also used sitar in many of their songs through the influence of George Harrison and Ravi Shankar.

I have never paid much attention to the lyrics and I am not sure if Mick Jagger is singing about a relationship that didn’t work out, or losing someone he loved.   In contrast, the Rolling Stones released She’s a Rainbow in 1967 bringing lots of colour to their music!

Read on to watch an early television performance by the Rolling Stones, read the lyrics  then listen to Vanessa Carlton’s interpretation.

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 has 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 forsee 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

Hmm, hmm, hmm…

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
Yeah

Hmm, hmm, hmm…

Vanessa Carlton – with great animation (2007)

Sungha Jung – Fingerstyle Guitar Wizard

Eric Burdon and the Animals (1967)

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