"Paint It, Black" is a song released by The Rolling Stones on 13 May 1966 as the first single from the US version of their fourth album Aftermath.It was originally titled "Paint It Black" without a comma. Keith Richards has stated that the comma was added by the record label, Decca.

At a book signing in Nashville in 2001, Bill Wyman explained that the comma was simply a typographical error that stuck.

The song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Mick Jagger wrote the lyrics and Keith Richards wrote the music.

Bill Wyman claims in his books that the song was a group effort although it was credited to Jagger/Richards.

The single reached number one in both the United States and the United Kingdom charts in 1966. In 2004 it was ranked number 176 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In the US and UK, it was the first number one single to feature a sitar.

History and compositionEdit

The song acquired its distinctive rhythm when Wyman, looking for a way to "fatten up" the bass sound, began playing with his fists on the pedals of an organ during the recording session.Richards said Wyman was doing a take-off of their first manager who started out as an cinema organistBrian Jones played the song's signature sitar riff, and Jagger contributed to the lyrics, which he has said are about a girl's funeral. Both electric and acoustic guitars and the background vocals are provided by Richards. The piano is played by Jack Nitzsche.

Keith Richards has also been quoted as saying "we cut it as a comedy track". He said they started out playing it in a kind of "funky rhythm" which didn't work. They then played around with it to how it appears on the record. He says that "Brian playing the sitar makes the whole thing".

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

Chart performanceEdit

Chart (1966) Peak


Canada RPM Chart 1
Dutch Top 40 1
Irish Singles Chart 2
UK Singles Chart 1
US Billboard Hot 100 1
Chart (1990) Peak


Dutch Top 40 1
UK Singles Chart 61

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