Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Comma, Comma, Down Doo-Be-Doo Down Down
The question at this point is not why there is a comma in the title of the Rolling Stones' "Paint It, Black." Everyone now knows that the song was originally dedicated to the British pop singer Cilla Black (born Cilla White, believe it or not).
Ha! Ha! That's just a little joke. (Not about White fading to Black; that part's true.) Really, the record company misprinted the title on the single, and it's remained that way ever since. No, the question now is why don't they get rid of it? On the Stones' official Web site, it's still listed as "Paint It, Black." (On Hot Rocks, displaying the Stones' customary fastidiousness, it's called "Paint It Black" on the outer jacket but "Paint It, Black" on the inner sleeve and on the record itself.) In a world where Panic! at the Disco can become Panic at the Disco, anything is punctuationally possible.
On that same Stones site, the lyrics to the song never actually contain the titular phrase. All this time I thought Mick was singing "I see a red door and I want to paint it black" (or maybe "I see a red door and I want to paint it, black"), but according to the Stones themselves, he's saying, "I see a red door and I want it painted black." So maybe the title is supposed to be a command to someone to paint something, totally unrelated to the lyrics of the song. Maybe that person is Elvis' bassist, Bill Black.