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.


Rob said...

Mick in Rolling Stone, 1968: "if a person is that hung up on lyrics he can go and buy the sheet music because it's all there, but all wrong of course. You should see the one for 'Dandelion,' they made up another song!"

T. Nawrocki said...

I'd love to hear that other version of "Dandelion." The first one is real good, so how bad could the second one be?

The Stones are like the new Charles Barkley, being misquoted on their own Web site.

Pike said...

It's so damned easy to be critical. But what do YOU want to do when you see a red door? Huh? Answer me!

T. Nawrocki said...

Mostly, I just want Grace Kelly to be on the other side of it.