Paul McCartney Blesses Beyoncé's Version of Beatles Hit

L: Beyonce, R: Paul McCartney - Photo: Getty Images
L: Beyonce, R: Paul McCartney - Photo: Getty Images
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From her cover of the Dolly Parton hit “Jolene” to the Tina Turner-inspired “Ya Ya,” Beyoncé fans everywhere have been dissecting every inch of her new album, Cowboy Carter, since its release. And while every member of the Beyhive knows that practically everything Ms. Carter does is for the culture, some may be surprised to learn that the Beatles song she chose to cover was originally written as a special tribute to an inspirational group of young Black people. And now, Paul McCartney, who wrote the song in 1968 is giving Bey his blessing on a “magnificent version.”

“I am so happy with @beyonce’s version of my song ‘Blackbird.’ I think she does a magnificent version of it and it reinforces the civil rights message that inspired me to write the song in the first place. I think Beyoncé has done a fab version and would urge anyone who has not heard it yet to check it out. You are going to love it!” McCartney said in an April 4 Instagram post.

The Beatles frontman said Bey thanked him for writing the song, inspired by the Civil Rights Movement, in a FaceTime call. He hopes that herb 2024 version will help continue to ease racial tension.

“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.”

Beatles fans love the simple guitar riff and Paul McCartney’s vocals on the band’s hit “Blackbird.” But many are surprised to learn that the original song is not about a bird at all, but about brave Black students in Arkansas.

In a 2018 interview with GQ, McCartney said events around the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, particularly the Little Rock Nine – the African American students who desegregated the schools in Little Rock, Arkansas – inspired him to write the song for the young girls in the group, who are called “birds” in England.

“I was sitting around with my acoustic guitar, and I’d heard about the civil rights troubles that were happening in the sixties in Alabama, Mississippi, Little Rock in particular,” he said. “So that was in my mind, and I just thought it would be really good if I could write something that if it ever reached any of the people going through those problems, it might give them a little bit of hope.”

He continued, “I was thinking of a Black girl going through [this], you know, now’s your time to arise, set yourself free, and take these broken wings.”

McCartney got to meet two of the famous students who inspired his song, Thelma Mothershed and Elizabeth Eckford, in 2016.

“Incredible to meet two of the Little Rock Nine—pioneers of the civil rights movement and inspiration for Blackbird,” he tweeted at the time.

MacKenzie Green, whose father Ernest Green was one of the Little Rock Nine, recently posted a video on TikTok showing her appreciation to Queen Bey for covering the track.

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“I like to affectionately think to myself that the only Beatles song I have ever loved, liked, sung for my father for his 79th birthday when we were separated by lockdown is about to be on the album of an artist that I adore,” she said in her post.

Beyoncé’s cover, “Blackbiird,” stays true to the original song and includes beautiful harmonies with Black female country artists Tanner Adell, Tiera Kennedy, Brittney Spencer and Reyna Roberts.

“I didn’t know the history of that song when we recorded it, and so it made it even more special, learning that afterwards,” Kennedy told USA Today.

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