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Paul McCartney Says Beyoncé’s ‘Blackbird’ Cover Reinforces His Civil Rights Message

Sir Paul McCartney is a fan of the Cowboy Carter rendition of his song, Blackbird, which he originally wrote in 1968.

“I am so happy with @beyonce’s version of my song ‘Blackbird,’” McCartney wrote Thursday on Instagram. “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!”

Beyoncé called him to discuss the song before recording it. “I spoke to her on FaceTime and she thanked me for writing it and letting her do it,” he wrote. “I told her the pleasure was all mine and I thought she had done a killer version of the song. When I saw the footage on the television in the early ’60s of the black girls being turned away from school, I found it shocking and I can’t believe that still in these days there are places where this kind of thing is happening right now. Anything my song and Beyoncé’s fabulous version can do to ease racial tension would be a great thing and makes me very proud.”

McCartney cites the American civil rights movement as his inspiration for the song. “I was sitting around with my acoustic guitar, and I’d heard about the civil rights troubles that were happening in the ’60s in Alabama, Mississippi, Little Rock in particular,” McCartney told GQ in 2018 .

“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. So I wrote ‘Blackbird.’ In England, a bird is a girl, so I was thinking of a Black girl going through this, now is your time to arise, set yourself free, take these broken wings.”

Beyoncé’s version of the song uses McCartney’s original acoustic guitar track from the Beatles’ self-titled album (a.k.a. The White Album), and features Brittney Spencer, Reyna Roberts, Tanner Adell, and Tiera Kennedy.

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