"Paint It Black" (originally released as "Paint It, Black") is a song by the English rock band The Rolling Stones. Jointly credited to the songwriting partnership of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, it was first released as a single on May 7, 1966, and later included as the opening track to the US version of their 1966 album Aftermath.

Paint It Black reached number one in both the Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart. The song became their third number-one hit single in the US and sixth in the UK. Since its initial release, the song has remained influential as the first number-one hit featuring a sitar, particularly in the UK, where it has charted on two other occasions, and has been the subject of multiple cover versions, compilation albums, and film appearances.

History and compositionEdit

The song began with Wyman playing organ at a recording session, in parody of the group's former co-manager Eric Easton, who had been an organist. Charlie Watts accompanied the organ by playing a vaguely Middle Eastern drum part; Watts' drum pattern became the basis for the final song. Brian Jones contributed the song's signature sitar riff (having taught himself to play after a visit with George Harrison) and acoustic guitar, and Jagger contributed the lyrics, seemingly about a man mourning his dead girlfriend. The lead electric guitar and the background vocals are provided by Richards. The piano is played by Jack Nitzsche.

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


  • Mick Jagger – lead vocals
  • Brian Jones – sitar, acoustic guitar
  • Keith Richards – electric guitar, backing vocal
  • Bill Wyman – bass, Hammond B3
  • Charlie Watts – drums
  • Jack Nitzsche – piano
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