Paul McCartney praises Beyoncé’s ‘magnificent’ cover of ‘Blackbird’

Sir Paul McCartney has expressed his joy at Beyoncé’s moving cover of “Blackbird”, the civil rights-inspired song he released with The Beatles in 1968, which features on her new album Cowboy Carter.

The pop titan sings her version of the track with Tanner Adell, Brittney Spencer, Tiera Kennedy and Reyna Roberts, championing the four emerging female country singers in a scene that is notoriously difficult for Black artists.

“I am so happy with Beyoncé’s version of my song ‘Blackbird’,” McCartney, 81, said in an Instagram post.

“I think she does a magnificent job of it and it reinforces the civil rights message that inspired me to write the song in the first place.

“I think Beyoncé has done a fab version and would urge anyone who has not heard it yet to check it out. You are going to love it!”

McCartney revealed that he spoke with Beyoncé on FaceTime, where she thanked him for writing the song: “I told her the pleasure was all mine and I thought she had done a killer version of the song.”

He continued: “When I saw the footage on the television in the early Sixties of the Black 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.

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

Paul McCartney congratulated Beyonce for her cover of ‘Blackbird' (Getty)
Paul McCartney congratulated Beyonce for her cover of ‘Blackbird' (Getty)

McCartney told GQ in 2018 that he wrote the song after he “heard about the civil rights troubles” that were happening in America during the 1960s, predominantly in the deep south in states like Alabama and Mississippi.

“Blackbird” has been covered many times over the years, by musicians including Dave Grohl, Sarah McLachlan, and Crosby, Stills and Nash.

Variety reports that Beyoncé’s version uses instrumental elements, including McCartney’s acoustic guitar and his foot-tapping, from the original 1968 master recording.

Beyoncé explained before releasing Cowboy Carter that it had been inspired by an experience where she “did not feel welcomed... and it was very clear that I wasn’t”.

“But, because of that experience, I did a deeper dive into the history of country music and studied our rich musical archive,” she said.

Her remarks have widely been interpreted to be a reference to the hostile reaction from certain figures in country music to her CMAs performance with The Chicks, where they performed her country-influenced song “Daddy Lessons” from 2016’s Lemonade.

With her single “Texas Hold ‘Em” from Cowboy Carter, Beyoncé became the first Black woman in history to top Billboard’s country chart. However, she has said that she hopes that one day an artist’s race in relation to musical genres will become “irrelevant”.

Among the prominent collaborators on her new album are the queen of country herself, Dolly Parton, and outlaw country legend Willie Nelson.

Beyoncé included her own twist on a cover of Parton’s classic song, “Jolene”, on the record, which the veteran artist has also praised.