Published on 1968
Track 11 on “The Beatles – White Album”
What the Beatles said about “Blackbird”
PAUL 1968: "It’s simple in concept because you couldn’t think of anything else to put on it. Maybe on ‘Pepper’ we would have sort of worked on it until we could find some way to put violins or trumpets in there. But I don’t think it needs it, this one. You know, it’s just… There’s nothing to the song. It is just one of those ‘pick it and sing it’ and that’s it. The only point where we were thinking of putting anything on it is where it comes back in the end…. sort of stops and comes back in… but instead of putting any backing on it, we put a blackbird on it. So there’s a blackbird singing at the very end. And somebody said it was a thrush, but I think it’s a blackbird!"
JOHN 1980: "I gave him (Paul) a line on that one."
PAUL circa-1994: "The original inspiration was from a well-known piece by Bach, which I never know the title of, which George and I had learned to play at an early age– he better than me actually. Part of its structure is a particular harmonic thing between the melody and the bass line which intrigued me… I developed the melody based on the Bach piece and took it somewhere else, took it to another level, then I just fitted words to it. I had in my mind a black woman, rather than a bird. Those were the days of the civil-rights movement, which all of us cared passionately about. So this was really a song from me to a black woman, experiencing these problems in the states… ‘Let me encourage you to keep trying, to keep your faith, there is hope.’ As is often the case with my things, a veiling took place. So, rather than say ‘Black woman living in Little Rock’ and be very specific, she became a bird, became symbolic, so you could apply it to your particular problem."