Song of the Day: "Paint It Black"
Recorded 57 years ago today. Here we find the Stones live, on isolated tracks, plus versions by The Animals and U2.
Greg Mitchell is the author of a dozen books and now writer/director of award-winning films. He was also a longtime editor of the legendary Crawdaddy.
On this day in 1966 the Stones started recording their innovative and soon-to-be-classic “Paint It Black,” or as the record company called it, “Paint It, Black.” (A comma chameleon? Maybe just a typo or was this supposed to be Mick offering a command to Cilla Black?) Following the Beatles’ use of sitar on “Norwegian Wood,” and with competition high, Brian Jones adopted it, as he was growing overlooked and bored with the Stones. But who added the castanets? Plus Wyman on cowbell.
They finished recording on March 9. Released in May, it became the first #1 raga-rock hit and the Stones’ third in the USA. Since Jones came up with the now-famous opening, and others in group played key roles in it, Brian was not happy afterward when the hit tune was attributed to the usual Jagger-Richards instead of his pseudonym “Nanker Phelge.” But Mick and Keith had only turned to writing their own songs the previous year so were keen to keep up appearances. Or something.
Of course, the song has appeared on dozens of soundtracks and been covered by hundreds of artists—but very few of the major variety. Most know enough to keep away from something that can’t be topped, although U2 tried…Enjoy, and note our daily cartooning down below, then subscribe, please, it’s still free and no pledge of future pay required!
Live on Ed Sullivan, 1966.
Only the instrumental track.
And Brian’s sitar isolated.
Eric and the Animals with a wild, six-minute version.
U2 tried it—and no one major since, and no wonder
Cartoons of the Day
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I will forever associate this song with the first place I heard it: The soundtrack to the late '80s Vietnam-set TV show "Tour of Duty". Sent me on a deep (and rewarding) dive into the rest of the Stones catalog, which had completely passed me by up to that point (I grew up listening to classic '60s country, mostly).
I absolutely love this song from the moment it was released. thank you for recognizing it.