The Rolling Stones: Paint It Black Meaning
Song Released: 1966
Paint It Black Lyrics
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 theyre all painted...
anonymous Jun 26th, 2007 6:18pm report
this song is written from the perspective of a man thats depressed because his "love" died. (love referring to a girl)the artist is singing about everything turning black because hes depressed and sees everything as black.
"i see a line of cars and they're all painted black"
this refers to a line of cars that are black, either limos for the family and or friends at the funeral, or they're not black in real life, he just sees them as black because hes depressed. and also refers to a hearse.(the vehicle which carries the casket containing a dead body to the grave site/funeral.
"with flowers and my love both never to come back"
this refers to the flowers put on the casket or at the grave site/or because flowers are colorful, and he sees everything as black, and that the flowers will die like his love did,"never to come back".
"i look inside myself and see my heart is black"
his feelings are dark because hes depressed, he sees everything as black.
"i could not foresee this thing happening to you"
the death was unexpected, sudden and tragic. also the pain is so bad he does not wish it on anyone else to have to go through pain that bad.
"if i look hard enough into the setting sun, my love will laugh with me before the morning comes"
he feels he will see his love again, either by dreaming, spirit, or when he dies, they will be united again. mabey he plans to end his own life to be with her.
"i see a red door and i want it painted black"
this could refer to many things.a church door, the gates of hell, the casket front, or just a door that he sees thats red and he don't want to see colors.
"no colors anymore i want them to turn black"
he don't want any colors because mabey seeing all black helps him be less depressed because mabey when he sees colors it reminds him of when he was happy or reminds him that other people are happy, and he don't like that it makes him feel more depressed. colors also may make him feel alienated. he feels no one knows what hes going through, and mabey if they see the world through his eyes, everything black, then they may understand.
"i see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
i have to turn my head until my darkness goes"
summer clothes are usually colorful. and this shows that he doesnt want to be depressed, or else his darkness wouldn't go. some of the lyrics contradict each other. i think he just feels so many emotions that he doesn't know what to think.
"i want to see it painted, paint it black
black as night, black as coal"
he wants others to feel what he is going through. he feels alone.
"i want to see the sun, blotted out from the sky"
this is where thoughts of him dying come back? but i think he meant more of the sun reminding him of better days, which makes him more depressed. and because he feels cold (emotionally) so he wants others to feel what he feels. so he don't feel as alone. others feel what he feels and know what hes going through.
anonymous Feb 21st, 2008 2:02pm report
The third interpretation is about 99% right. The only thing that's wrong is "when I see the girls walk by in their summer closes I have to turn my head until my darkness goes" is about him seeing girls in summer clothes (which are usually pretty skimpy), and he feels bad that he thinks of them when is love is now dead. his "darkness" refers to him feeling physically attracted to the girls and he feels like is betraying is love.
This song is written from the perspective of a black person who is cutting themselves off from everything but that which is black, as some black people do: associating with people of other races as little as possible because of the "victim" culture they live in.
It's actually one of their best songs.
This narrative technique (getting inside the head of an imaginary character who is really not far from real life) has also been used by Randy Newman, Elvis Costello, the Beatles and others.
The Stones were one of the first in rock music to use it.
anonymous Jul 20th, 7:16am report
The Red Door is his heart and it's starting to turn black because of his lost love and the feeling that everything is now lost. His depression and hatred of all things beautiful and alive make him realize his red door, his heart, is turning black, and he's fine with that. MV
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
bahareh.khosravi.5 May 31st, 2013 5:23am report
I think love is not just a girl but the broad definition of love and the choice to "be" as in "to be or not to be"; So when he says his love is gone I think he means his heart and his ability to love are gone and now he's just an empty shell. And the girls with summer clothes on represents a carefree happiness that he could never have because of the things he's seen.
anonymous Jan 3rd, 2013 1:04pm report
What I love is that music is an art and just like visual art, the person sensing it can interpret it however they choose.
anonymous Dec 20th, 2012 12:07pm report
guys this song is about Vietnam...come on now. its about a soldier and the black represents shutting out the world.
anonymous Nov 9th, 2012 11:35pm report
In the Verse where he Says "If i look hard enough into the settin' sun. My love will laugh with me before the mornin' comes." I think he is hallucinating. If you look into the sun for too long you go blind, therefore he has lost his mind over loosing his love. He is hallucinating that he is with his love. When really he is just imagining that he is with her. This could also be his escape from reality and the world. (=
anonymous Nov 5th, 2012 11:18pm report
i think he is talking about how he wants black out all of the controversy about the war in Vietnam and he wants to shut people up and have people change their point of views of vets returning from the war.
anonymous Oct 28th, 2012 10:19pm report
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes, I have to turn my head until the darkness goes....."Summer clothes" is metaphorical . Hes referring to happy clothes....he hates the girls because they are happy, because they are alive and his love is not, he can't stand to look at them in their happiness, happiness that he no longer has...he's not depressed, he's angry! It's not fair. I think he refers to girls instead of women or people in general because they symbolize innocent bliss. Also, clothes are something that is put on and I think it refers to vanity. Vain, happy, innocence makes him feel dark, and he can't look at it. He's too full of hate now.
anonymous Sep 15th, 2012 9:08am report
Obviously this is a slight of hand gesture by Jagger meant to induce bits of hysteric craze by those of us who wish to ponder upon the meaning.
He wants to touch the girls and warrants this though by warding off his evil thoughts by provoking what it is he is attempting to dismantle when he proposes that "people turn their heads and quickly look away...like a new born baby, it just happens everyday." He is amused byhis desirability. He wants to touch the "girls" but at the same time understands that they want to touch him because, afterall, the way to rid the "evil eye" is for the person to touch the object of affection.
Still, though he speaks of a funeral procession and obviously implies that "god" should skip his house as he paints his door black, he sits back and laughs with his love, his seagull, in sickened, twisted humor.
Best song of all times!
anonymous Jun 24th, 2012 6:24pm report
it's a painter who has inherited a large surplus of black paint that he doesn't know what to do with.
ether that or it's some guy who wants a black uprising to get rid of all the coloured people in the wropld.
Kendralynn Gasperson Feb 26th, 2012 2:34pm report
i think it means he is sad because he lost the one he love i fill like that kinda when i lose people in my life its a real sad filling to lose any one that were closes to you even when you lose pets Ive lost family's friends and pets in my life its really sad to lose any thing you really cared for.
anonymous Jan 21st, 2012 1:00pm report
"The third interpretation is about 99% right. The only thing that's wrong is "when I see the girls walk by in their summer closes I have to turn my head until my darkness goes" is about him seeing girls in summer clothes (which are usually pretty skimpy), and he feels bad that he thinks of them when is love is now dead. his "darkness" refers to him feeling physically attracted to the girls and he feels like is betraying is love."
It could be, but in that lyric I took 'until my darkness goes' to mean anger at seeing the girls walk by in their summer clothes; young, colourful, vibrant and full of life as a counterpoint to someone who, presumably, could have been one of them if they were still alive.
I didn't think he was attracted to them, more resisting the urge to 'paint them black' as well - all life and colour removed - basically wishing them dead, because why should they be happy when the person he loves is dead? why should there be any joy in the world while he is grieving?
So he has to look away until those feelings go away, as a) the contrast is a painful reminder and b) he is aware it isn't actually their fault and his anger is misdirected.
anonymous Jan 15th, 2012 1:55am report
It's written from the imagined perspective of an ethnocentric black person. This was written during the sixties, when a lot of blacks had this kind of attitude. There was a quoted story (whether it was an actual quote, we'll never know) out at the time that the Rolling Stones had gone to an airport and were verbally harassed by some baggage handlers teasing them about their long hair, saying "Who do you think you guys are? The Beatles?" and one of the Stones quipped back "No, we're the Rolling Stones, but who do you guys think you are: the Harlem Globetrotters?"
This was written shortly after that incident...
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