Day 28: “Blackbird”

When was it recorded?  Jun. 11, 1968

When was it first released, and on which album?  Nov. 22, 1968 on “The Beatles”

Who wrote it?   McCartney

Have I heard this song before?  Yes

What my research dug up:

“Blackbird” was written and performed entirely by Paul – he provided as the vocals, acoustic guitar, and percussive foot taps on the version recorded for “The Beatles” album.  He does not, however, provide the bird chirps at the end.

According to Paul, Bach’s “Bourrée in E minor” inspired the guitar part.  Here’s a video of that song, accompanied by a picture of Bach looking quite disdainful.

Paul wrote “Blackbird” while in Scotland as a response to the escalating American Civil Rights movement.

“I had in mind a black woman, rather than a bird. Those were the days of the civil rights movement, which all of us cared passionately about, so this was really a song from me to a black woman, experiencing these problems in the States: ‘Let me encourage you to keep trying, to keep your faith, there is hope.’ As is often the case with my things, a veiling took place so, rather than say ‘Black woman living in Little Rock’ and be very specific, she became a bird, became symbolic, so you could apply it to your particular problem.” — Paul McCartney (Barry Miles, Many Years From Now)

“Blackbird” is another Beatles song that does whatever the hell it wants with time signatures, switching between 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4 throughout.

A demo from the “Blackbird” recording session was included on “Anthology 3.”

This (and every other demo version I listened to) is not much different from the finished product.  This song is just that good.  How can you mess up “Blackbird?”  Is it even possible?  Probably, but I haven’t found out how yet.


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