The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Monday, March 27, 2023

Monday Music "Paint It Black" By The Rolling Stones

I am continuing my Vietnam War Themed Monday Music, This will probably be the last week for the muse.


  Vietnam was a taboo subject for a while the wounds that the conflict left on the American Psyche was deep.  We had won the battles but lost the war because we as a nation had lost the will to fight it thanks to the media and the hippies and the antiwar movement that was funded by the communist party and liberal donors.  it took several years before Vietnam could be discussed outside of the veterans.  My Dad was a Vietnam Veteran, he did a tour in 1968 and dealt with the tunnels of Cu-Chi and the Tet Offensive, then he returned in 1972 for a second tour.   For a while especially in the 1970's, the Vietnam vet was portrayed as crazy or dangerous.  The specter of Vietnam dogged every use of the Military or any support during the 1980's, from Grenada, to Beirut, to Honduras and Nicaragua.  The Ghost of Vietnam were finally laid to rest during Desert Storm. 


 I decided to roll with "Paint it black" It is a Rolling Stone song that was used in the opening credits of a TV series that we GI's watched in the barracks.  We liked the realism, the attention to detail,  they had used Vietnam veterans as advisers to ensure the realism and gritty reality...for 80's TV anyway.  When the show came on, the dayroom was full as everybody clustered around the AFN broadcast of the show.  This song is the only song by the Rolling Stones that I  really liked.....We would cheer when the soldiers would shoot up Charlie and the firefights.  The interplay of the people was very well done, we liked the way the new LT played by Stephen Caffrey was mentored by the platoon sergeant played by Terrance Knox.  All the other guys also played well on each other and at the end of the video, it showed the 3 soldiers standing at attention and saluting the flag on TV at the end of the broadcast day....when they played the national Anthem.   That was telling for me.  The simple patriotism showed represented the beliefs of the Veterans in their country..


"Paint It Black" is a song recorded in 1966 by the English rock band the Rolling Stones. A product of the songwriting partnership of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, it is a raga rock song with Indian, Middle Eastern, and Eastern European influences and lyrics about grief and loss. London Records released the song as a single on 7 May 1966 in the United States, and Decca Records released it on 13 May in the United Kingdom. Two months later, London Records included it as the opening track on the American version of the band's 1966 studio album Aftermath, though it is not on the original UK release.

Originating from a series of improvisational melodies played by Brian Jones on the sitar, all five members of the band contributed to the final arrangement, although only Jagger and Richards were credited as songwriters. In contrast to previous Rolling Stones singles with straightforward rock arrangements, "Paint It Black" has unconventional instrumentation including a prominent sitar, the Hammond organ, and castanets. This instrumental experimentation matches other songs on Aftermath. The song was influential to the burgeoning psychedelic genre as the first chart-topping single to feature the sitar, and widened the instrument's audience. Reviews of the song at the time were mixed and some music critics believed its use of the sitar was an attempt to copy the Beatles, and others criticized its experimental style and doubted its commercial potential.

"Paint It Black" was a major chart success for the Rolling Stones, at eleven weeks (including two at number one) on the US Billboard Hot 100, and 10 weeks (including one atop the chart) on the Record Retailer chart in the UK. Upon a re-issue in 2007, it reentered the UK Singles Chart for 11 weeks. It was the band's third number-one single in the US and sixth in the UK. The song also topped charts in Canada and the Netherlands. It received a platinum certification in the UK from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and from Italy's Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana (FIMI).

"Paint It Black" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2018, and Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song number 213 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In 2011, the song was added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of "The Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll". Many artists have covered "Paint It Black" since its initial release. It has been included on many of the band's compilation albums, and several film soundtracks. It was played on several Rolling Stones tours. 

In 1965, popularity of the Rolling Stones increased markedly with a series of international hit singles written by lead singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards.While 1964 saw the band reach the top of both the albums and singles charts in their native United Kingdom, other bands from Britain dominated the American market, such as the Beatles. In 1965, the Stones crossed over to the American Market with their first number one single, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", and first number one album Out of Our Heads. That year also saw the Stones reach the top of the charts for the first time in countries such as Finland, Germany, and South Africa.

This success attracted the attention of Allen Klein, an American businessman who became their US representative in August while Andrew Loog Oldham, the group's manager, continued in the role of promoter and record producer.[4] One of Klein's first actions on the band's behalf was to force Decca Records to grant a $1.2 million royalty advance to the group, bringing the members their first signs of financial wealth and allowing them to purchase country houses and new cars. Their October–December 1965 tour of North America was the group's fourth and largest tour there up to that point.According to the biographer Victor Bockris, through Klein's involvement, the concerts afforded the band "more publicity, more protection and higher fees than ever before".

By this time, the Rolling Stones had begun to respond to the increasingly sophisticated music of the Beatles, in comparison to whom they had long been promoted by Oldham as a rougher alternative.With the success of the Jagger-Richards-penned singles "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" (1965), "Get Off of My Cloud" (1965) and "19th Nervous Breakdown" (1966), the band increasingly rivalled the musical and cultural influence of the Beatles, and began to be identified as one of the major pillars of the British Invasion. The Stones' outspoken, surly attitude on songs like "Satisfaction" alienated the Establishment detractors of rock music, which music historian Colin King explains, "only made the group more appealing to those sons and daughters who found themselves estranged from the hypocrisies of the adult world – an element that would solidify into an increasingly militant and disenchanted counterculture as the decade wore on".


"Paint It Black" came at a pivotal period in the band's recording history. The Jagger/Richards songwriting collaboration had begun producing more original material for the band over the past year, with the early model of Stones albums featuring only a few Jagger-Richards compositions having been replaced by that of albums such as Out of Our Heads and December's Children (and Everybody's), each of which consisted of half original tracks and half cover songs. This trend culminated in the sessions for Aftermath (1966) where, for the first time, the duo penned every track on the album. Brian Jones, originally the band's founder and leader over the first few years of its existence, began feeling overshadowed by the prominence of Jagger and Richards' contributions to the group.

Despite having contributed to early songs by the Stones via the Nanker Phelge pseudonym, Jones had less and less influence over the group's direction as their popularity grew primarily as a result of original Jagger-Richards singles. Jones grew bored attempting to write songs, and with conventional guitar melodies. To alleviate his boredom, he begun exploring Eastern instruments, specifically the Indian sitar, with a goal to bolstering the musical texture and complexity of the band's sound. A multi-instrumentalist, Jones could develop a tune on the sitar in a short time; he had a background with the instrument largely from his studies under Harihar Rao, a disciple of Ravi Shankar.

Over 1965, the sitar had become a more and more prominent instrument in the landscape of british rock. The Yardbirds had attempted to record "Heart Full of Soul" with the sitar as part of the arrangement in April, however they had run into problems getting the instrument to "cut through" the mix, and the session musician responsible for playing the instrument had trouble staying within the 4/4 time signature of the song. Ultimately, the final version of "Heart Full of Soul" featured a fuzz guitar in place of the sitar, although the song's distinctively Indian timbre remained. Following similar Indian-influenced experimentation by the Kinks on "See My Friends" that nonetheless still used guitar as the primary instrument, the first British band to release a recording featuring the sitar was the Beatles, with "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" released that December on the album Rubber Soul. Following a discussion with the Beatles' lead guitarist George Harrison, who had recently played the sitar on the sessions for "Norwegian Wood" in October 1965, Jones began devoting more time to the sitar, and began arranging basic melodies with the instrument. One of these melodies morphed over time into the tune featured in "Paint It Black"

Initial reaction to "Paint It Black" was mixed. Some music critics found the addition of the sitar to be simply a case of the band copying the Beatles.n his book Brian Jones: The Making of the Rolling Stones, Paul Trynka comments on the influence of Harrison's sitar playing on the Beatles' song "Norwegian Wood" from the Rubber Soul album and draws parallels with Jones' droning sitar melody on "Paint It Black". Responding to claims that he was imitating the Beatles, Jones replied: "What utter rubbish", comparing the argument to saying that all groups using a guitar copy each other merely by using the instrument. Jonathan Bellman, an American musicologist, agreed with Jones, writing in a 1997 issue of The Journal of Musicology that the events are an example of concurrent musical and instrumental experimentation. Jones' sitar part on the track influenced the development of a whole subgenre of minor-key psychedelic music.

Lindy Shannon of the La Crosse Tribune felt "Paint It Black", the Byrds' "Eight Miles High" and the Beatles' "Rain" were straying from the "commercial field" and instead "going into a sort of distorted area of unpleasant sounds". Staff at Melody Maker lauded the track, calling it "a glorious Indian raga-riot that will send the Stones back to number one".Writing for Disc and Music Echo, Penny Valentine praised Jagger's singing, writing that it was "better than ever" but was critical of the track's sitar Guitar Player's Jesse Gress cited "Paint It Black" as originating the 1960s ragarock craze.In a review for New Musical Express (NME), Keith Altham considered "Paint It Black" the band's best single since "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" was released the previous year. A reviewer for Billboard predicted that Aftermath would become another hit for the band, citing "Paint It Black" as the focal point of this hard rock album and praising Oldham's production. The Herald News considered the song a "top record ... for teeners", and in The Sunday Press Nancy Brown described it as a "pulsating, blues-soaked romantic tear-jerker".In the San Francisco Examiner, Ralph J. Gleason lauded the song for its "hypnotizing tone" and "same qualities of ambiguity and obscurity as some of the previous Stones hits". In April 1967, while hosting the television documentary Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution, Leonard Bernstein praised the song for its "arab café" sound, and cited it as an example of contemporary pop music's ability to evoke disparate moods through instrumentation.

In a retrospective review, Richie Unterberger of AllMusic called the song an "eerily insistent" classic that features some of "the best use of sitar on a rock record", and in another AllMusic review wrote it is "perhaps the most effective use of the Indian instrument in a rock song". Writing on the song's 50th anniversary in 2016, Dave Swanson of Ultimate Classic Rock considered the song, like its parent album Aftermath, to be a major turning point in artistic evolution for the band, noting: "'Paint It, Black' wasn't just another song by just another rock group; it was an explosion of ideas presented in one neat three-minute package." In 2017, ranking Aftermath as one of the best albums of the 1960s, Judy Berman of Pitchfork described the song as "rock's most nihilistic hit to date".vid Palmer, editor of the Cullman Times, wrote that the "attitude" songs on Aftermath – particularly "Paint It Black" – influenced the nihilistic outlook of punk music. Stereogum critic Tom Breihan praised the song as a strong example of the band's brand of "swirling doom-blues", and praised its heavy sound and dark lyrics as ahead of its time when compared to the landscape of popular music in 1966.

"Paint It Black" inspired almost four hundred covers.It has placed on many "best songs" lists including those by Rolling Stone, Vulture magazine, NME, and Pitchfork. The Recording Academy inducted the song into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2018. It is ranked number 213 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time,and according to Acclaimed Music it is the 115th most celebrated song in popular music history.



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