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Song Lyric Sunday – Blackbird

This week, host of Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams, has given us prompts of Bird, Cat, Dog, Fish and Pet. You could say we have been spoilt for choice because I can think of many songs for each prompt. I am curious to see what everyone chooses. My pick is a favorite Beatles song, Blackbird. The backstory is interesting and I hope you enjoy this lovely song and Paul McCartney’s melodic voice and beautiful lyrics.

Paul McCartney wrote this about the civil rights struggle for African Americans after reading about race riots in the US. He penned it in his kitchen in Scotland not long after an incident in Little Rock when the federal courts forced the racial desegregation of the Arkansas capital’s school system.

“I was sitting around with my acoustic guitar and I’d heard about the civil rights troubles that were happening in the ’60s in Alabama, Mississippi, Little Rock in particular,” he told GQ. “I just thought it would be really good if I could write something that if it ever reached any of the people going through those problems, it might give them a little bit of hope. So, I wrote ‘Blackbird.'”

Only three sounds were recorded: Paul’s voice, his Martin D-28 acoustic guitar, and a tapping that keeps time on the left channel.

This tapping sound is a bit of a mystery, although in the Beatles Anthology video McCartney appears to be making the sound with his foot. Some sources have claimed it is a metronome.

The birds were dubbed in later using sound effects from the collection at Abbey Road, where the song was recorded.

McCartney did not have ornithological intentions when he wrote this song. In England, “bird” is a term meaning “girl,” so the song is a message to a black girl, telling her it’s her time to fly:

All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

The guitar accompaniment for this song was inspired by Bach’s Bourrée in E minor for lute. This is often played on classical guitar, an instrument Paul McCartney and George Harrison had tried to learn when they were kids. McCartney told Mojo magazine October 2008: “We had the first four bars (of the Bourrée in E minor) and that was as far as my imagination went. I think George had it down for a few more bars and then he crapped out. So I made up the next few bars, and (sings his four-note variation Bach’s theme) it became the basis of ‘Blackbird.'”

This is one of the songs novice guitar players often try to learn, as it’s one of the most famous finger-style tunes. The singer Donovan claims some credit for teaching The Beatles a technique similar to the one McCartney used here when they were on a retreat to India in early 1968.

The word “bird” had been floating around Paul McCartney’s musical lexicon since 1958 when the Everly Brothers had a hit with “Bird Dog,” a song about a guy trying to steal another dude’s girl. McCartney was a huge fan of the Everly Brothers. Just for fun, here is a video of Bird Dog by the Everly Brothers.

There have been hundreds of covers of this song. Perhaps the most enduring is Brad Mehldau’s instrumental jazz version, released in 1997. The only charting version of the song was by the Cast of Glee, which took it to #37 in 2011. Other notable covers include renditions by José Feliciano, Billy Preston, Sarah Vaughan, Jaco Pastorius, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Bobby McFerrin and Dwight Twilley. The Doves did a cover in 2002 for the soundtrack to the TV series Roswell.

The singer-guitarist Kenny Rankin recorded it for his 1974 album Silver Morning. McCartney was a big fan of Rankin’s rendition: when the Songwriters Hall of Fame inducted Lennon and McCartney in 1987, McCartney skipped the ceremony but had Rankin accept the award on his behalf and perform “Blackbird.”

The “broken wings” concept had been fluttering about for a while, notably in Kahlil Gibran’s 1912 story The Broken Wings. (The Beatles song “Julia” uses lines from one of Gibran’s poems, but McCartney has never cited him as an influence on “Blackbird.”) In 1985, the American group Mr. Mister released their #1 hit “Broken Wings,” which was directly inspired by The Broken Wings and like “Blackbird,” used the line, “Take these broken wings and learn to fly.”

Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl told Q magazine that he feels this is the greatest Paul McCartney song. He commented: “It’s such a beautiful piece of music, perfect in composition and performance, and in its lyrics and in the range of his voice. Just learning that song made me a better guitar player and gave me a better appreciation of songwriting. To me it’s just musical bliss.”

At the Academy Awards ceremony in 2016, Dave Grohl performed this song to accompany the “in memoriam” segment, recognizing those in the movie industry who died the previous year.

Blackbird Singing is the title of a book of poems McCartney wrote

This is one of about 12 Beatles songs that McCartney often played in his live shows throughout his career. It lends itself to live performance because it is rather compact (it runs just 2:18) and can be played with just a guitar.

Courtesy of Songfacts

Lyrics

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

Writer/s: John Lennon, Paul McCartney 
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Tratore
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Ever-changing

Ever-changing

Late afternoon clouds
tinged with
the golden threads
of hidden sun
Silhouettes of squawking
Cranes taking flight
Shadows elongated
into distorted shapes
Peace found in
images and sounds
 
Summer’s kindness
stroking, comforting
Healing
the soul gently
before the colors
of fall are
dangled delightfully
before eyes
wide in wonder
Captivating
 
The whipping
cold autumn winds
and inevitable
grey skies
A backdrop for
changing colors 
Almost unnoticed
as once again
we are fooled
by the beauty
of a season’s transition
 
 
Copyright © 2020 Christine Bolton - Poetry for Healing
All Rights Reserved

Sanaa is hosting D'Verse Poets Open Link Night

Image by Vinson Tan ( 楊 祖 武 ) from Pixabay  
 

One Liner Wednesday – Time to Go

Good morning and welcome to One Liner Wednesday. I found this Gary Larson cartoon that reminded me of Trump. Maybe he can go and find somewhere else to be a dictator because he failed here! Time to go home Donald!

I hope you enjoy it. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the USA!

For Linda G. Hill’s One Liner Wednesday

Deep Connection – A Haibun

Deep Connection

It’s been 20 years since that cold wintery day I had to let go of my Thoroughbred, Magnum.  He had been my friend, my team mate and my confidant for many years but sadly he had developed severe laminitis. A condition which made it difficult for him to walk, resulting in a life-ending decision.  

It was truly heartbreaking to have my vet come and euthanize my horse and I will always be grateful for his kindness and thoughtfulness in making arrangements to have the body removed while I was at work.  I think seeing it would have been too painful to watch.

Later in the day I returned to the stables to remove my tack and belongings.  I walked into Magnum’s stall one more time and looked out into the pasture.  Sitting just outside his stall was a cat as white as pure snow.  I had never seen it before and it just sat there and looked at me for a long time.  It held my gaze for what seemed like an age and then it just ran away.  I remember reading somewhere that white animals appear as spirit guides after a death.  Perhaps it was helping him on his way.

You look in my eyes
and see deep into my soul
knowing I need you
 
 
Copyright © 2020 Christine Bolton - Poetry for Healing
All Rights Reserved

Kim is hosting Monday Haibun at D’Verse Poets and has prompted us as follows:

This week, I would like you to write about a time when you last watched stars, a storm, the sea, an animal, or something else in nature that left you with a sense of wonder or awe. Aim to write no more than three tight paragraphs, followed by a traditional haiku that includes reference to a season.

Image by Madison Buening from Pixabay 

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