Moment to be Free

‘Blackbird’ came out in 1968 on the Beatles double White Album and at first glance this song seems to be about a blackbird that is singing at night and because of its broken wings and sunken eyes it has to learn how to fly and see.  It might have been locked in a cage where the door just sprang open because it was waiting the moment to arise so it could be free.  Paul said that he was inspired to write this song after reading a poetry book called Blackbird Singing.  Paul used the symbol of a blackbird to represent the black people’s struggle in the southern states during the 1960s, and he used the symbolism of a blackbird to represent this.  In the US, Americans started calling girls chicks, but in the 60s and 70s British slang used the word bird to describe a young woman, so a blackbird should be interpreted as a black girl.

McCartney mentioned the Little Rock Nine, a group of nine black students who faced discrimination and the lasting impact of segregation after enrolling in the all-white Little Rock Central High School in 1957, following the Supreme Court’s historic Brown vs. the Board of Education decision, as being an inspiration for writing this song.  1968 brought urban riots and shockwave after shockwave as racial tensions exploded after the assassinations of first, Martin Luther King, then Robert F. Kennedy, who were both gunned down and ‘Blackbird’ was a symbolic way to support the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement.  McCartney said that the guitar portion of this song was inspired by J.S. Bach’s Bourrée in E minor, because he and George Harrison and used to play that as a “show off” when they were teenagers.  Bourrée in E minor is a popular lute piece, the fifth movement from Suite in E minor for Lute, written by Johann Sebastian Bach between 1708 and 1717.  This piece is arguably one of the most famous pieces among guitarists.

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

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 a dark black night

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of a dark black night

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
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Written for Paula’s Thursday Inspiration 69 where this week’s theme is free from the 1973 Lynyrd Skynyrd song ‘Free Bird’.

13 thoughts on “Moment to be Free

  1. How bizarre: As I read this post I happen to be listening to J.S. Bach’s Complete Music for Lute on YouTube, which of course includes Bourrée in E Minor. The story behind Blackbird is interesting not because of what it represents, but because, to my knowledge anyway, Paul didn’t share those facts until the last 15 or so years. I wonder if he considered it too risky a subject to be open about in ’68.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that Paul makes things up for his own convenience, as the Little Rock Nine story came out as he was playing a concert in Little Rock and he met two women from that group. I guess everybody has a selective memory of sorts and we like to hang on to our good ones and forget the bad.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Who knows what the real truth is as far as Paul’s claims. I’d like to believe him. If the song becomes a symbol of the fight for freedom for persons of color then more power to it.

    Liked by 1 person

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