8. Beatles – ‘Blackbird’ (1968)

“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”

Written by Paul McCartney/John Lennon

Produced by George Martin

Taken from the album The Beatles

Also released on Anthology 3

There is a lot of history to be found within the Beatles discography, whether the songs are written about certain events or whether those events have happened after release and are now tied to the work in question. ‘Blackbird’ is no exception, with the slight, quiet ballad taking on the subject of the civil rights movement and race relations. The song is so simple, with very few layers and elements, mostly consisting of vocals and guitar. It runs only two minutes and twenty seconds, yet manages to completely convey the message and still leave time for the listener to admire the lyrical beauty and the pretty melody.

Like the recent songs on this list ‘Travelin’ Thru’ and ‘Darkness’, ‘Blackbird’ is about overcoming adversity, about finding a meaning for your life and a reason to continue. Like the African-American community struggled for recognition and equality, the blackbird in this song yearns to be heard, for the moment when it can spread it’s broken wings and learn to fly. It is such powerful imagery, and even if it isn’t immediately obvious what this song is about, you can apply it to any number of situations. I suppose that was one of the main reasons the Beatles were so acclaimed and popular – they were never afraid to make a statement, be it artistic or political, but they did it in such a way that it never intruded on the musical quality of their songs.

“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”

I wouldn’t say ‘Blackbird’ is a popular choice for the best ever Beatles song, but it has had it’s fair share of recognition and cover versions over the years, and is generally regarded as one of Paul McCartney’s greatest compositions. It was never released as a single – there were none from The Beatles – but still became a fan favourite and one of the most famous latter-day Beatles songs. As a civil rights anthem or simply as an expression of freedom and personal change, ‘Blackbird’ is among the most beautiful pieces of music you will ever hear.

“Blackbird, fly
Into the light of the dark black night”


2 Responses to “8. Beatles – ‘Blackbird’ (1968)”

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