"Paint It Black" as written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards....
I see a red door and I want it painted black
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 they're all painted black
With flowers and my love, both never to come back
I see people turn their heads and quickly look away
Like a newborn baby it just happens ev'ryday

I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door and I must have it painted black
Maybe then I'll fade away and not have to face the facts
It's not easy facing up when your whole world is black

No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue
I could not foresee this thing happening to you
If I look hard enough into the setting sun
My love will laugh with me before the morning comes

I see a red door and I want it painted black
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 want to see your face painted black, black as night, black as coal
Don't want to see the sun, flying high in the sky
I want to see it painted, painted, painted, painted black, yea


Lyrics submitted by hermelinus, edited by morrolan, atp, BroccoliMan

"Paint It Black" as written by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards

Lyrics © ABKCO Music Inc.

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Paint It Black song meanings
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  • +24
    General CommentNo, no, no. You people are reading way too much into this. The lyric is quite simple. No drugs, no Vietnam, no affirmative action. The lyric is about the death of his girlfriend, and attending the subsequent funeral after.
    The red door referrs to his heart, which he now wants painted black, as to never be opened again. The man is grieving here after all.
    And the funeral:
    "...line of cars painted black, with flowers and my love, both never to come back". How much Poe do you need?
    Furthermore: "..i could not for-see this thing happening to you".. the protagonist blaming himself for not being able to help or stop the death from happening.
    Painting it black is a metaphore for his mood and how he does not wish to be consoled, merely left alone to "fade away and not have to face the facts".
    As far as the girls walking by in their summer clothes, they simply remind him of his loss and must therefore turn away, "...until my darkness goes".

    I must say though I do have issue with incorrect lyrics posted at the end here.
    It doesn't say ..."I want to see your face painted black"
    the song simply says :
    "I want to see it painted, painted black, black as night..."
    And it does not say .."don't want to see the sun flying high in the sky..."
    it says:
    ..."I want to see the sun blotted out from the sky".
    If you listen with ear phones it is unmistakeable.
    Again this man is crushed, he wants everything to be black to reflect his malaise.
    Karnenyenon February 26, 2013   Link
  • +11
    General CommentI think this song is just about a guy that has lost all faith in EVERYTHING and he just wants to world to emulate his own feelings of despair.
    maxpower114on February 08, 2002   Link
  • +8
    General CommentI think it's about him losing someone close to him (lover) and the despair and depression that follows.

    A line of cars painted black. Funeral Procession.

    With flowers and my love both never to come back...

    the rest of the song talks about he it outwardly projecting his darkness.
    xmod2on April 05, 2002   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI think it's pretty obvious that the song is about losing a loved one and the grief makes one wish everything turned to darkness as that is how they feel.

    The line "No more will mine green sea go turn a deeper blue" means that there is no longer depth or deep meaning maybe. The green part of the sea is usually quite shallow and the dark blue parts are deep. That's what I understand from it anyway.

    Every other line is just straight forward and obvious. Great song.
    yrton September 26, 2010   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationFor a song writer and not a renowned writer this song is literary genius.To get the obvious stuff out of the way:

    His girlfriend, or love, died. This is his song singing about moving on from this and trying to coup.

    The less obvious stuff:

    The colors are obviously the key to this song.
    Black/Darkness is symbolic of depression and pain in this song.
    Red is the color of love and romance.
    The door is likely symbolic of moving on in life, painting it, rather then going through it is likely him stating his depression wont allow him to look past the fact that moving on would imply romance and finding other love.

    Anyone who has gone through a serious break up knows the internal battle that goes on inside, you don't want to move on, yet you must. This specific break up, as you can imagine, is much more severe; she has passed away.

    The most complex part of the song:

    'I see a red door and I want it painted black
    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'

    He sings about painting the door, then immediately sings about girls in 'red dresses'. The girls symbolize future relationships and he uses to words 'I HAVE to turn my head, until my darkness goes away'. This being the deepest part of the song means, he knows if he wants the pain to go away he has to move on, there is no choice in the matter, he HAS to.

    Hopefully, this gives you possible insight on the song.
    eveseaon July 09, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it is just simply a statement on the state of youth at the time. They had very little to look forward too. The men were being forced into an unpopular war and the girls were being left lonely. Hence, paint it black, so everyone feels as I do.
    mhhinchon May 23, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it is definitly about depression after the loss of a wife or girlfriend. In his depression he wants everything black. Hes so depressed that nothing except his wife/girlfriend could help him. So he wants everything painted black, the red door, the line of cars which most likely was a funeral procession, his heart, and his red door. He cant look at any girls because they all remind him of his former lover so he has to turn his head untill his darkness goes. With flowers and my love both never to come back was refering to the flowers he sent with his lover in the hearse and the my love part is his lover the flowers and his lover will never come back. He says no colors any more, again its his depression he doesnt want any happiness any more he just wants his love back. He talks about fading away and not having to face the facts. I think that refers to him dying and not having to face up to the fact that his lover is dead. Then he says its not easy facin up when your whole world is black. Hes saying its not easy getting up and living your life when everything is black and depressing to you. You know he didnt kill her because it says I could not forsee this thing happening to you. Hes saying that he didnt even see it coming, which is also a reason for his deep depression the shock of his lovers death. Then the part about the setting sun and him laughing with his love is about him just waking up and looking out to heaven and talking to her, and laughing with her. Then finally in the ending its very aggresive hes just getting every thng out. He wants everything black because nothing but his love mattered to him so now that shes dead he just wants the whole world black to match his heart.
    pureevil666on May 27, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentim in the same boat as keith right now. that thing about the brit and americans was pure gold. i said this in another post and ill say it again. it doesn't matter what the song meant to the writer, no one has been in his shoes or knows exactly what he feels. what matters is what YOU feel when you hear the song. and once again dont tell people they're wrong even if they are. they suffer more for their sins if no one tells them they're wrong.
    Oedipuson September 21, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's not about Vietnam. I wrote a whole essay about the meaning of this song: unfortunately it is on my other computer. I'll post it as a comment here this weekend.
    6th_sadistic_sniperon September 24, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHeh, wouldn't you know it, the file was deleted from my PC. Damn.

    And no, nothin bout drugs, how is it?!? He's clearly depressed over losing a loved one. It DOES have a clear theme shared with the Vietnam war - desensitization. Which is why Kubrick chose to use it for Full Metal Jacket.
    6th_sadistic_sniperon September 27, 2002   Link

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