Blackbird

December 22, 2020

Zoey+Hupman

Zoey Hupman

Writing music takes time and effort. Even if what you’re writing isn’t necessarily important to you, it’s still something that comes with time.

When I think of people with a natural talent for song writing my mind immediately goes to Paul McCartney.

Paul McCartney is a member of the Beatles that is naturally gifted with lyricism that speaks to your soul. One of the most widely known songs written by McCartney is Blackbird.

Blackbird first aired April 30, 1962 and was considered one of the top ten most recorded songs until 2008 when The Beatles song Eleanor Rigby topped Blackbird. Many people have asked what makes this song such a masterpiece, and well, aside from the catchy beat and cool fingerpicking pattern on the acoustic guitar, the lyrics speak for themselves. 

At the time when Blackbird was written, there were countless struggles for civil rights of African Americans throughout the United States and several race riots were also occurring. McCartney wrote Blackbird specifically for the African American community.

In Britain, “bird” is actually a slang term used to describe girls or young women, so Blackbird means black girl.

The first line of the song is “Blackbird singing in the dead of night”. What McCartney pictured when he wrote this verse is a black woman who is being persecuted in the South because of the color of her skin, but she isn’t giving up. She is hopeful and that’s why he envisioned her singing. In this case, her singing is symbolic to hope and belief that she will be free one day.

The second line of the song goes as follows, “take these broken wings and learn to fly”. The broken wings represent something corrupted or something working against her. He’s trying to tell her that she’s strong enough to make something good out of it, almost like a silver lining.

Finally, the first verse ends with the line, “all your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise”. McCartney wrote this line in hope of expressing that after all of her patience and waiting she has the opportunity to move forward. 

The second verse starts with the same line as the first verse and continues into the second line which is, “take these sunken eyes and learn to see”. Just as the second line in the first verse, this line is saying that she is looking through something broken or that her vision isn’t perfect but to look at the bigger picture. The symbolism in these few lines is beautiful. He’s comparing her situation to sunken eyes and that although things aren’t perfect, you have to stay hopeful or else there’s nothing to hold onto.

In the third verse it says, “blackbird fly, blackbird fly, into the light of the dark black night”. What McCartney was trying to convey when he wrote this line is that he wants her to be free. He’s telling her to find the only hope in a hopeless world. This line is repeated again to close out the third verse. 

Finally, the last six lines of the song end with the same verse that started it all. Paul McCartney did a beautiful job using his voice to bring hope to people when they needed it the most.

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