Baseball Related Songs: “Paint it, black” by the Rolling Stones

In today’s episode of Baseball Related Songs, we pay attention to “Paint it, black” performed by the British rock formation the Rolling Stones. Even though the song itself isn’t about baseball, it is related to our beautiful sport in more than one way.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor Rolling stones paint it black

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were credited for the lyrics of the song but also Bill Wyman and Brian Jones contributed. The song was released on May 7, 1966. “Paint It Black” reached number one in both the Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart. The song became the Rolling Stones’ third number-one hit single in the US and sixth in the UK.

Even though the original title was Paint it black, an error of the record company resulted in “Paint it, black” with a comma. Later releases were written as it was meant to be.

At first, the song was meant as a quiet soul song because it had to represent the mood of a depressed man who wants everything to turn into black just like his own mood. But during practice sessions, the song was played at a faster pace. In this up speed version, the striking sitar sound of Brian Jones rears up its head. During these sessions, Jagger added a piece to the lyrics in which the man mourns his dead girlfriend.

In the late eighties, the song regained popularity thanks to the TV show “Tour of Duty” for which the song was used as the signature tune. Next to Tour of Duty, the song was used in several other movies and video games. The song is used in the final part of Full Metal Jacket and also in the Vietnam War part of Forrest Gump. The video games Guitar Hero III-: Legends of Rock and Call of Duty: Black Ops III also use the song.

But what is the connection with baseball? Well, first of all, the proverb “painting the black.” In the past, home plates had a black outline. The proverb means throwing a pitch that barely touches the corners of the home plate for a strike.

The Pittsburgh Pirates use the song as part of their blackout promotion.

An instrumental version of the song was used in a very subtle way in the 2018 commercial The Future is Built for Ford Motor as a subtle nod to Henry Ford’s famous comment: “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”

The lyrics of the song are as follows:

I see a red door
And I want it painted black
No colors any more
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’ve seen people turn their heads
And quickly look away
Like a newborn baby
It just happens every day

I look inside myself
And see my heart is black
I see my red door
I must have it painted black

Maybe then I’ll fade away
And not have to face the fact
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 any more
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 wanna see it painted
Painted black
Black as night
Black as coal
I wanna see the sun
Blotted out from the sky
I wanna see it painted, painted, painted
Painted black, yeah


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