There’s something about painting that just seems to inspire musicians. Perhaps it’s the creative process itself, or the transformative power of turning a blank canvas into a work of art. Whatever the reason, painting has always been a popular subject for songs.
In this list, we’ve collected 20 of our favorite tracks that celebrate the joys and challenges of painting. We hope you enjoy them!
- 1. “Paint It Black” by U2
- 2. “Painting Box” by Incredible String Band
- 3. “Run Paint Run Run” by Captain Beefheart
- 4. “Max Ernst” by Mission Of Burma
- 5. “Paint It Black” by War
- 6. “Vincent” by Don McLean
- 7. “If” by Bread
- 8. “When I Paint My Masterpiece” by The Band
- 9. “Paint a Rumour” by Eurythmics
- 10. “Picasso Baby” by Jay-Z
- 11. “Paint Her Face” by The Records
- 12. “Rene And Georgette Magritte” by Paul Simon
- 13. “Painting by Numbers” by Peter Hammill
- 14. “Painting Pictures” by Adele
- 15. “Painting People Blue” by Gruff Rhys
- 16. “Painting by Chagall” by Deb Talan, Steve Tannen, and The Weepies
- 17. “Blue Period Picasso” by Peter Bjorn And John
- 18. “Picasso’s Last Words” by Paul McCartney & Wings
- 19. “Paint Me a Birmingham” by Tracy Lawrence
- 20. “I feel Like a Francis Bacon painting” by Honolulu Mountain Daffodils
- Final Thoughts
1. “Paint It Black” by U2
First on the list is one of the most popular songs by U2. “Paint It Black” was released in 1991 and quickly became a fan-favorite. The song is about the despair and darkness that can come with painting. It has been covered by various artists over the years like The Rolling Stones and Ciara.
2. “Painting Box” by Incredible String Band
Here’s a beautiful song that you can dedicate to your painting supplies. “Painting Box” is by the Incredible String Band and it’s from their 1967 album, The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion. The song is about all of the colors that compare to the different emotions we feel for the people in our lives.
3. “Run Paint Run Run” by Captain Beefheart
Captain Beefheart’s “Run Paint Run Run” is a playful and psychedelic song that will definitely get you moving. It’s from the 1980 album, Doc at the Radar Station. The lyrics speak about how paint seems like it has a mind of its own, and how it can be used to create something beautiful.
4. “Max Ernst” by Mission Of Burma
“Max Ernst” is a tribute to the Dadaist painter of the same name. The song was released in 1981 by Mission of Burma and it can be found on their album, Signals, Calls, and Marches.
In their first commercial single, Burma makes clear the type of artistry they wanted to produce: Avant-Garde, high culture, creative, different from standard norms, and surrealist. These words accurately describe both Ernst and the band.
5. “Paint It Black” by War
Released in 1970, “Paint It Black” is a song by War. The lyrics of the song perfectly convey the feelings of depression, despair, and loss of innocence that many combat veterans from war feel. The song has a fast tempo and is influenced by music from India, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe.
6. “Vincent” by Don McLean
Don McLean is best known for his 1971 hit “American Pie,” but he also has a beautiful ballad about one of the most famous painters of all time, Vincent Van Gogh. “Vincent” is a tribute to the artist and his work, and it paints a picture of Vincent’s life and struggles with mental illness.
7. “If” by Bread
“If” is a song by the American band Bread, released in 1971. The lyrics of the song are about a man who is contemplating suicide, and how his life would be different if he had never been born.
The lyrics are dark and morbid, but they also have a hint of hope and resilience. “If a picture paints a thousand words, then why can’t I paint you?” just hits differently.
8. “When I Paint My Masterpiece” by The Band
Next on the list is “When I Paint My Masterpiece” by The Band. Released in 1971, the song is about Bob Dylan’s experience of painting in Europe.
He wasn’t very successful at it, but he did meet some interesting people along the way. The song is lighthearted and fun, with a great message about not giving up on your dreams.
9. “Paint a Rumour” by Eurythmics
Here’s a song about the power of gossip and rumor, from the British duo Eurythmics. “Paint a Rumour” is from their 1983 album Touch, and it’s a catchy synth-pop track with a dark edge.
The lyrics tell the story of a small town where everyone knows everyone’s business, and how one little rumor can cause a lot of damage.
10. “Picasso Baby” by Jay-Z
“Picasso Baby” is a song by Jay-Z, an American hip-hop artist, from his album Magna Carta… Holy Grail.
This track is about Jay-Z’s love for art, and how he sees himself as a modern-day Picasso. He also name-drops a lot of famous painters like Warhol and Jean Michel, and compares himself to them.
11. “Paint Her Face” by The Records
“Paint Her Face” is a song by The Records, a British rock band. It’s a catchy tune with a great guitar riff, and it’s about a woman who is trying to cover up her true self with makeup.
The lyrics are pretty dark, and they hint at some underlying issues with mental health and self-esteem. You can find it on their self-titled album.
12. “Rene And Georgette Magritte” by Paul Simon
Paul Simon is a legendary singer-songwriter, and this song is from his album Hearts and Bones. “Rene And Georgette Magritte” is about the Belgian surrealist painter Rene Magritte, and his wife Georgette. The lyrics are written in the style of a letter, and they tell the story of how the couple met and fell in love.
13. “Painting by Numbers” by Peter Hammill
“Painting by Numbers” is a song by Peter Hammill, a British singer-songwriter. It’s from his album Skin, and it’s about how we try to fit our lives into neat little boxes.
The lyrics are pretty abstract, but the overall message is that we should just be ourselves and not worry about conforming to society’s expectations.
14. “Painting Pictures” by Adele
Adele delivers a heartbreaking ballad about lost love on this track from her album 19. “Painting Pictures” is about a relationship that ended, and how the memories of it still haunt her. The lyrics are really beautiful, and they’ll definitely make you feel something.
15. “Painting People Blue” by Gruff Rhys
The color blue has always been associated with sadness, and that’s what this song is about. “Painting People Blue” is by Gruff Rhys, a Welsh singer-songwriter. It’s from his album Candylion, and it’s a sad and wistful track about love and loss.
16. “Painting by Chagall” by Deb Talan, Steve Tannen, and The Weepies
This next song is a collaboration between Deb Talan, Steve Tannen, and The Weepies. It’s called “Painting by Chagall”, and The song is about two people who are deeply in love but can never be together. Chagall paints beautiful scenes of his native village, as well as dreams of love and freedom.
17. “Blue Period Picasso” by Peter Bjorn And John
Up next is “Blue Period Picasso” by Peter Bjorn and John. This song is about a breakup, and how it can feel like you’re living in one of Picasso’s blue-period paintings. The lyrics are really sad and relatable, and the song will definitely make you feel all the feels.
18. “Picasso’s Last Words” by Paul McCartney & Wings
Paul McCartney wrote this next song, which is called “Picasso’s Last Words”. The song is about the death of Picasso, and how his last words were “drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink anymore”. It’s a sad and beautiful song, and it’s definitely worth a listen.
19. “Paint Me a Birmingham” by Tracy Lawrence
Next on the list is “Paint Me a Birmingham” by Tracy Lawrence. This song is about how love can change you, and how sometimes the best thing you can do is just start over. The lyrics are really powerful, and they’ll definitely make you think about your own life and relationships.
20. “I feel Like a Francis Bacon painting” by Honolulu Mountain Daffodils
Wrapping up the list is “I feel Like a Francis Bacon painting” by Honolulu Mountain Daffodils. This song is about how life can be dark and confusing, but also beautiful in its own way.
The lyrics are really deep and thought-provoking, and they’ll definitely make you think about your own life and what it means to you. You can find it on the Guitars of the Oceanic Undergrowth / Tequila Dementia album.
There you have it, 20 songs about painting. Whether you’re a fan of art or not, these songs are sure to make you feel something. So go ahead and give them a listen, and see which ones resonate with you the most!