The song “Paint it Black” was written by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. Speculations on the meaning of the lyrics range from a view of depression to grief over a lover who has died unexpectedly to Jagger saying that there was no particular inspiration for the song. It had been more of a slower soul song, but Bill Wyman followed around on the organ and Charlie Watts improvised a double-tie drum pattern, which made it more upbeat vs. the sad lyrics. Jagger has gone on to say, “That was the time of lots of acid. It as sitars on it. It’s like the beginnings of miserable psychedelia. That’s what The Rolling Stones started — maybe we should have a revival of that.” It has also noted as among the beginnings of raga rock and psychedelic sixties music. Well, whatever these bad boys were up to, the track does have a sitar on it because Brian Jones became interested in Eastern instruments, particularly the sitar. He felt one could bend the strings on it more than on a guitar. (Besides, Beatle George Harrison had been experimenting with the sitar as well –not to mention Ravi Shankar.) Jack Nitzsche played keyboards.
“Paint it Black” was first released as a single (originally with the title “Paint It, Black”) in 1966. It was later released on the U.S. version of their 1966 album Aftermath. It went to #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, the U.K. Singles Chart, in Canada, and in The Netherlands. It was #2 in Austria, Finland, and Germany. The song also appeared on numerous compilation albums.
The Rolling Stones formed in London, England, in 1962. For this track, they were Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, and Charlie Watts. There have been many changes in the lineup over the years. The Rolling Stones have continued to tour and perform for many decades.