“Paint It Black,” The Rolling Stones

“Paint It, Black” by the Rolling Stones, off the Aftermath album, their fourth album, 1966. The lyrics are about grief, death, and sex. Hey, I like that combo. The Stones always were pretty dark and evil to the Beatles sunny day stuff. But that’s ok. The world’s pretty dark and evil anyway, might as well sing about it, no? This is actually raga rock, or rock music with an Indian influence. This song does sound Indian, doesn’t it? Wow, I never knew that, and here I am, listening to this song for 45 years and I finally figure this out. This was one of the first songs to use a sitar, the Indian instrument.

Jagger said he based the song on James Joyce’s Ulysses, from which the line, “I have to turn my head until my darkness grows” with its theme of desperation and desolation. Well, at least he reads the classics.

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’ve seen people turn their heads
And quickly look away
Like a newborn baby
It just happens everyday

I look inside myself
And see my heart is black
I see my red door
I must have it 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
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

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