1966: The Rolling Stones Release “Paint It Black”

On May 13th, 1966, the world was introduced to one of the most iconic songs in rock music history. The Rolling Stones released their single “Paint It Black” in the United Kingdom, forever changing the landscape of popular music. This groundbreaking track, with its distinctive sitar intro played by Brian Jones, quickly became a sensation and solidified the band’s place in music history.

Before the release of “Paint It Black,” The Rolling Stones had already established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry. Their raw energy, rebellious spirit, and blues-infused sound had captivated audiences around the world. However, “Paint It Black” marked a significant departure from their previous work and showcased the band’s willingness to experiment and push boundaries.

The song opens with the mesmerizing sound of the sitar, an instrument rarely heard in Western popular music at the time. This unique introduction immediately grabs the listener’s attention and sets the tone for the rest of the track. The haunting melody, combined with Mick Jagger’s powerful vocals and Keith Richards’ mesmerizing guitar riffs, creates a sense of melancholy and introspection.

Lyrically, “Paint It Black” delves into themes of darkness, loss, and introspection. The lyrics, penned by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, paint a vivid picture of a world consumed by grief and despair. The song’s protagonist grapples with their emotions, trying to make sense of a world that seems devoid of color and hope.

Upon its release, “Paint It Black” quickly climbed the charts and became a massive hit for The Rolling Stones. It topped the charts in both the United Kingdom and the United States, solidifying the band’s status as one of the biggest rock acts of their time. The song’s success was not only a testament to the band’s musical prowess but also a reflection of the changing cultural landscape of the 1960s.

“Paint It Black” resonated with audiences around the world and became an anthem for a generation. Its dark and introspective themes struck a chord with listeners who were grappling with the social and political upheaval of the era. The song’s success also paved the way for other artists to explore new musical territories and experiment with different sounds and instruments.

Over the years, “Paint It Black” has remained a staple in The Rolling Stones’ live performances. Its timeless appeal and powerful lyrics continue to captivate audiences, solidifying its status as one of the band’s greatest hits. The song’s influence can be felt in the work of countless artists who have been inspired by The Rolling Stones’ groundbreaking sound.

As we reflect on the release of “Paint It Black” on May 13th, 1966, it is clear that this iconic song holds a special place in music history. Its unique blend of musical elements, powerful lyrics, and cultural significance have cemented its status as a timeless classic. Whether you’re a fan of The Rolling Stones or simply appreciate great music, “Paint It Black” is a song that continues to resonate and inspire.


  1. The Rolling Stones Official Website
  2. AllMusic
  3. Billboard

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