Sep 022010

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.

Check out more Rolling Stones at their website.

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  22 Responses to “Five Good Covers: Paint It Black (The Rolling Stones)”

Comments (21) Pingbacks (1)
  1. The Firewater version is sick! I love the coda.

  2. My favorite remains the cover by the Feelies, from their Crazy Rhythms album.

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

  4. I think the version by Eric Burdon and the Animals on the 1967 album ‘Winds of Change’ is better than any of these.

  5. i can totally recommend the Punk/Rock version of the american band “The Unseen”

    kick asses

  6. “The Unseen” has the best version by far!!!

  7. IMO, my favorite cover is done by American Death Metal band, the Black Dahlia Murder. check it.

  8. I recommend Gob’s version of Paint it Black, very good!

  9. 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.

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

  11. You can also listen to my version of “Paint it black” for orchestra and choir. Here is the link:

  12. Info about Africa and the album this PIB cover came from:

  13. 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!

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

  15. The Inkubus Sukkubus version is often mistaken for Lacuna Coil because the singer sounds a LOT like Cristina Scabbia.

  16. This version is rare as f*ck – Nic and the Nives 1985
    7 inch ep limited pressing of only 500 – classic guitar intro unmatched vocals – garage band from Covina,Ca.

  17. Thanks for the info, I collect cover versions as well sung in different languages.

    I have them in French, Italian and Spanish.

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