Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Blackbird


Blackbird paulmccartney.filminspector.com




"Blackbird" is an album track written by Paul McCartney, recorded on 11 June 1968, and released on the Beatles' 1968 "White Album." While never released as a single, "Blackbird" is considered one of McCartney's elite album tracks along with "Here, There and Everywhere" and "Eleanor Rigby."

Blackbird paulmccartney.filminspector.com


Paul wrote "Blackbird" on his farm in Scotland not long after returning from visiting the Maharishi in Rishikesh, India. This was right around the time that he began dating Linda Eastman. On the first night that Linda stayed over at his flat in London, Paul played it for the "Apple Scruffs" who always camped out there, from the window of his attic where he did his composing. Paul has said:
Part of its structure is a particular harmonic thing between the melody and the bass line which intrigued me. Bach was always one of our favorite composers; we felt we had a lot in common with him... I developed the melody on guitar based on the Bach piece and took it somewhere else, took it to another level, then I just fitted the words to it.
"Blackbird" is fairly complex, including several time signature changes. However, the lyrics are extremely simple and poignant.


Blackbird paulmccartney.filminspector.com


"Blackbird" is one of Paul McCartney's favorite songs, which he likes to play in certain intimate venues and often brings up when discussing his "best" songs. For instance, Paul played it to a select group of friends at Abbey Road Studio at a "Mastertapes" session in 2016 for BBC Radio 4 and also played it in Grand Central Station in 2018. It also was the rare Beatles song that he played on his "James Paul McCartney" television special in 1973. A studio version from the Beatles days also wound up on "Anthology 3." McCartney almost always plays "Blackbird" on tour since 2002 after not having done so since the "Wings Over America" days. Paul seems to think that "Blackbird" is particularly suitable for American audiences, but appropriate for everyone.

Blackbird paulmccartney.filminspector.com


About the meaning of the song, Paul has said:
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 did another civil rights standard two decades later, "All My Trials," a rare instance of Paul playing a song and releasing it as a single that he did not write himself.

Blackbird paulmccartney.filminspector.com
"Blackbird" appeared on "Paul McCartney - Unplugged" in 1991.

One of Paul's unique talents was writing songs in his youth that he can still pull off remarkably well 40+ years later, despite it being just him and his guitar, no sonic effects or backing vocal help. He has said:
Part of its structure is a particular harmonic thing between the melody and the bass line which intrigued me. Bach was always one of our favorite composers; we felt we had a lot in common with him… I developed the melody on guitar based on the Bach piece and took it somewhere else, took it to another level, then I just fitted the words to it.
So, among Paul's sources of inspiration during the Beatles years was Johann Sebastian Bach, specifically, Bourrée in E minor, a well-known lute piece that guitar players like to play. "Blackbird" is perhaps the best example of a timeless song by Paul McCartney.




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


Anthology 3 paulmccartney.filminspector.com


2018

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