Blackbird – The Beatles

“Blackbird” is a world-famous song by the Beatles from the 1968 double-disc album “The Beatles“, better known as “The White Album“. The song was written by Paul McCartney, though credited...

“Blackbird” is a world-famous song by the Beatles from the 1968 double-disc album “The Beatles“, better known as “The White Album“. The song was written by Paul McCartney, though credited to Lennon and McCartney.

During  live concertChaos and creation at Abbey Road held at Abbey Road Studios in 2015 , McCartney himself admitted that the guitar accompaniment for the whole song was inspired by J.S. Bach’s Bourrée in E minor, because George Harrison and he used to play that as a “show off” when they were teenagers.

The lyrics seem to refer to the story of a blackbird with “sunken eyes” and “broken wings” which learn to see and to fly. But as you may expect there’s something more…

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly.
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see.
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.
Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly.
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

During a concert in the US , before performing this song, Paul McCartney spoke on stage about the meaning of the song. After the show, during an interview, the meaning was further discussed:

I had been doing poetry readings. I had been doing some in the last year or so because I’ve got a poetry book out called Blackbird Singing, and when I would read “Blackbird”, I would always try and think of some explanation to tell the people, ’cause there’s not a lot you can do except just read the poem, you know, you read 10 poems that takes about 10 minutes, almost. It’s like, you’ve got to, just, do a bit more than that. So, I was doing explanations, and I actually just remembered why I’d written “Blackbird”, you know, that I’d been, I was in Scotland playing on my guitar, and I remembered this whole idea of “you were only waiting for this moment to arise” was about, you know, the black people’s struggle in the southern states, and I was using the symbolism of a blackbird. It’s not really about a blackbird whose wings are broken, you know, it’s a bit more symbolic.

Paul McCartney, Interview with KCRW’s Chris Douridas, 25 May 2002

So, basically, Blackbird was inspired by the racial tensions that exploded in the US on spring 1968 as a symbolic way to support the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement.
McCartney underlined also that “bird” is a British slang often used for “girl”, which would make “blackbird” become “black girl”. This lexical escamotage combined with the events back in 1960s seem to refer to Rosa Parks, a black woman who, while on a bus, refused to give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled; she later become “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement”.

Anyway, this song is so deep and at the same time so metaphoric that it can be used as a song of freedom in any circumstances. It sings that even if your not free, if you live in darkness, if your wings are broken and your eyes sunken, you should always try to arise, fly and follow the light that even in the darkest night shines.

Notably, Blackbird is one of the top ten most recorded covers of all time. I would like to present to you one of the best, in my opinion: the cover from Crosby, Still and Nash performed at Woodstock

Blackbird – The Beatles
Rate this post
Categories
Sounds from the Bucket
Marco Principia

Born in Rome, his beloved city. Graduated with honors in Political Science and International Relations at Università degli Studi "Roma Tre". Expert of current affairs and United Nations. Recently attended a course in Humanitarian Emergency at INTERSOS. Currently employed at CIES - ONLUS in the Coordination and Organization Office for Interpreting and Translation Service for Territorial Commissions for the Recognition of International Protection. Huge fan of A.S. Roma.
No Comment

Leave a Reply

*

*

RELATED POSTS