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Paul McCartney says Beyoncé’s ‘Blackbird’ cover ‘reinforces’ civil rights message that inspired him to write it

By Alli Rosenbloom, CNN

(CNN) — Paul McCartney is singing his praises for Beyoncé’s version of “Blackbird.”

The music legend on Thursday wrote on his Instagram page that he’s “so happy” with the Grammy-winner’s cover of the 1968 Beatles track that is included on her newly released “Act II: Cowboy Carter” album, under the slightly revised title “Blackbiird.”

“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,” he wrote. He went on to “urge anyone who has not heard it yet to check it out.”

Originally written by McCartney amid the 1960s civil rights movement in the United States, “Blackbird” was inspired by the Little Rock Nine, a group of Black students who were the first to desegregate schools in late 1950s Arkansas.

“When I saw the footage on the television in the early 60s of the black (sic) 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,” McCartney wrote in his post on Thursday.

“Anything my song and Beyoncé’s fabulous version can do to ease racial tension would be a great thing and makes me very proud,” he added.

The powerful meaning behind the original song adds to the emotional depth of Beyoncé’s 2024 cover, which is amplified by the voices of four up-and-coming Black female country artists featured on the track: Tiera Kennedy, Tanner Adell, Brittney Spencer and Reyna Roberts.

McCartney in his post on Thursday wrote that he spoke to Beyoncé on FaceTime and she thanked him for writing “Blackbird” and for letting her cover it.

“I told her the pleasure was all mine,” he wrote. “I thought she had done a killer version of the song.”

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