What does the song “Paint It Black – The Rolling Stones” mean?

What does the song “Paint It Black - The Rolling Stones” mean? songs

The Rolling Stones are one of the most influential musical groups in the history of rock music. The Rolling Stones’ discography is full of unusual songs of all kinds. Over the years, the band has had a fundamental influence on the creativity of many musical groups and has won the hearts of millions of people.

The song Paint It Black, whose title translates into Russian as “Paint It Black”, is rightfully considered one of the most significant and mysterious compositions ever created by the band. Decades later, fans of The Rolling Stones have not reached a consensus on what its significance is.

In fact, the songwriters had quite a bit to say about the song. They have shared the detailed story of its creation more than once, but all attempts to explain the meaning have not diminished the amount of controversy. Fans of the band interpret the meaning of the song in many different ways. Here are examples of very non-trivial interpretations of the meaning:

  • A chanting of the Catholic faiths;
  • opposition to communist ideology;
  • a reflection of the war in Vietnam.

Thus the lyrics are very versatile and leave wide latitude for the search for new meanings. Let us try to “get closer to the truth” and understand what idea the musicians might have put into one of their earlier works.

The story of the song’s creation

The authorship of the song is traditionally attributed to Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. However, it is possible that other members of the rock band also took considerable part in its composition. No one knows exactly where the ideas for the lyrics were taken from, but there is reason to believe that the inspiration came from the songs of Bob Dylan, as well as the works of avant-garde and occult artists.

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The great song was recorded and released back in 1966 as part of the album Aftermath. Soon it became a real hit: for many weeks it topped the most popular charts in the USA and Great Britain. As it often happens, dozens of years later came a new wave of popularity: in the nineties Paint It Black was a huge success again.

Notable in this composition is the sitar playing. Brian Jones became interested in the unusual musical instrument after communicating with George Harrison.

Rolling Stone magazine praised the song’s importance to world culture, listing it among the greatest songs of all time. Paint It Black is, without a doubt, a masterpiece of musical art.

The meaning of the song

During the first listening it becomes clear that the narration is performed by a man, who survived the death of his beloved woman. His longing is so deafening that he cannot bear the bright colors of this world. He wishes everything around him were colored black: it would fit his condition. The song most accurately conveys the pain of loss, which cannot be drowned out by anything. When the dearest person passes away, other people’s joy makes the pain worse, and it seems as if life will never be bright again.

It seems that the meaning of the song is simple and clear. Then how did the fans find other explanations of the lyrics? Probably the thing is that fans would like to “get to the bottom of it” and find the true meaning of every detail. For example, where does the red door lead to? It could be a church gate, symbolize the flag of the Soviet Union, or… mean absolutely nothing. This is left entirely to the discretion of the listener.

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Where did the “Vietnamese” interpretation come from. It only came about in the 80s, when the song became the soundtrack to the movie “Full Metal Jacket”, which was dedicated to military events. Even the American veterans repeatedly confessed that this song had some special meaning for them during the war. The track reflected very well the state of people who were forced to fight, suffering losses and seeing terrible events every day.

Interesting Facts

Some streaming services record the title of the song as “Paint It, Black,” which would mean “Paint It, Black.” There’s no subtext here: it was a trivial punctuation error made by the record company

The rights to the ingenious song belong not to the band itself, but to Allen Klein, who was the band’s manager at the time of its formation.

The song is the soundtrack to TV series and films, including the famous picture “The Devil’s Advocate”.
Conclusion

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The song Paint It Black can be interpreted in many different ways. The most popular interpretation, which corresponds to the lyrics of the song, is that the death of a loved one is an irreparable loss, after which life loses all meaning. However, there are other interpretations related to the fans’ careful attention to symbolism.

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