Paint It Black (3:22)

Cover of Paint It Black

From Paint It Black and 31 other releases

“Paint It Black” is a song recorded by The Rolling Stones in 1966. It reached number one in both the U.S. and the UK charts in 1966. It was released as a single and included on the U.S. version of the album Aftermath. In 2004 it was ranked #174 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The song began with Wyman playing organ at a recording session, in parody of the group’s former co-manager Eric Easton, who had been an organist. Charlie Watts accompanied the organ by playing a vaguely Middle Eastern drum part; Watts’ drum pattern became the basis for the final song. Brian Jones contributed the song’s signature sitar riff (having taught himself to play after a visit with George Harrison) and acoustic guitar, and Jagger contributed the lyrics, seemingly about a man mourning his dead girlfriend. The lead electric guitar and the background vocals are provided by Richards. The piano is played by Jack Nitzsche, unfortunately not in any way related to Friedrich Nietzsche, the famous German philosopher.

The bass was also overdubbed by Bill Wyman playing on the bass pedals of a Hammond B3 organ.

Richards has stated in an interview that the song was not intended to have a comma in its title, and that this was added by the record label.

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