Five Good Covers: Paint It Black (The Rolling Stones)

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

In 1966 the Rolling Stones already had five chart-topping singles under their belts in Britain (two in America). Over the previous few years, classics like “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “The Last Time,” and “Get Off of My Cloud” had hit the world like an atom bomb. Great songs all, but much like the Beatles‘ earliest work, they were all a bit…samey. To be sure, it was the best sort of sameyness, but it wouldn’t have forecasted the group still selling out stadiums 45 years later.

“Paint It Black” gave the first whiff of that longevity. It wasn’t as big a hit as the three aforementioned singles, but it was their first real departure from the blues-band mold. The middle eastern melody, the spooky sitar riff underpinning the verses, the humming break two-thirds of the way through. This was different. This was out there.

As a result, it’s inspired some terrific covers. We’ve got five of the best below. First up, Inkubus Sukkubus brings the gothic overtones front and center with an eerie bats-in-the-chapel rumble. Firewater, on the other hand, explores the middle eastern side of things (and you thought the original had a lot of sitar…). Post-punk sextet Band of Susans unleash a wall of sparring guitars. Soft Cell’s Marc Almond submerges the listener back in the goth underbelly, but with a grand orchestral sweep. The group Africa, on whom I can find no info, travels to guess-which-continent with tribal drumming and a whole lot of hollering.

Download all five below, then tell us which you like best in the comments.

MP3: Inkubus Sukkubus – Paint It Black (Rolling Stones cover)

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MP3
: Firewater – Paint It Black (Rolling Stones cover)

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MP3
: Band of Susans – Paint It Black (Rolling Stones cover)

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MP3
: Marc Almond – Paint It Black (Rolling Stones cover)

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MP3
: Africa – Paint It Black (Rolling Stones cover)

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  1. These are great, really fun and interesting! I also recommend the version by the Japanese punk band Nicotine. It’s crazy good Engrish fun.

  2. I love a version by the Portland band Sneaking Out. They’ve taken Keith Richiard’s classic and mashed it with Beethoven’s 5th and played it on electric mandoline, xylophone, and bass. My favorite part is at 2:50 into the song.

  3. this may be sacrilege but I thought Siobhan Magnus’s version on American Idol was pretty damn good (especially the studio track)

  4. I have to agree with jenny #10 the GOB version is amazing! It keeps the original feel but upgrades to a modern hardcore metal sound!

  5. I would recommend Ciara’s version, it was dark and very well done. It was done for the Last Witch Hunter soundtrack.