Flashback: The Rolling Stones Play 'Paint It Black' In 1966 - Rolling Stone
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Flashback: The Rolling Stones Play ‘Paint It Black’ In 1966

Watch the group perform live on ‘Ready Steady Go!’

The Rolling Stones were nearing their peak as pop hit makers when they appeared on Ready Steady Go! on October 7th, 1966. Their fourth album, Aftermath, hit stores that April, and their sitar-infused single “Paint It Black” spent two weeks at Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 in June. “Mother’s Little Helper,” “Lady Jane” and “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow” also got a lot of airplay.

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The group was on a grueling British tour in October of 1966, often playing two shows a night, but during a four-day break they headed to Studio 5 at Wembley and taped a three-song set for Ready Steady Go!, sharing the stage with Eric Burdon and the Animals and Paul & Barry Ryan, an almost totally forgotten pair of twin brothers whose career lasted just about a year. 

A career path like Paul & Barry Ryan was the norm for a pop act at this time: a handful of hits before fading into complete oblivion. The Rolling Stones and the Beatles, however, were completely subverting this: They’d both been at it for three years and showed absolutely no signs of slowing down, even if John Lennon’s “more popular than Jesus” line caused a bump in the road for the latter act. 

They did face a lot of competition. The very month of this “Paint It Black” performance on Ready Steady Go!, ? and the Mysterians hit Number One with their garage classic “96 Tears” and the made-for-TV band the Monkees saw their debut single “The Last Train to Clarksdale” absolutely explode on the charts, kicking off an incredible run of success. They’d sell more than the Beatles and Stones combined in 1967, even though the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band that summer and the Rolling Stones unleashed the hit-packed Between the Buttons

Needless to say, ? and the Mysterians disappeared almost immediately and the Monkees imploded within two years. They were among the thousands of rock bands that rose and fell within the lifespan of the Rolling Stones, who are still selling out stadiums almost fifty years later. 

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