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Sir Paul McCartney ‘proud’ as he praises Beyonce’s version of Blackbird

Sir Paul McCartney has praised Beyonce’s version of The Beatles song Blackbird and said he was “proud” at the idea it could help “ease racial tension”.

The 81-year-old musician 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.

Beyonce’s version of the track, which she has renamed Blackbiird, features on her newly released album Act II: Cowboy Carter, the follow-up to 2022’s Grammy-winning album Renaissance, which marked Act I of the trilogy.

In an Instagram post Sir Paul said: “I am so happy with @beyonce’s version of my song ‘Blackbird’.

“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.

“I think Beyonce 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!”

The musician said he spoke to the 42-year-old US singer 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 said.

“When I saw the footage on the television in the early 60s 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.

Disney’s The Lion King European Premiere – London
Beyonce’s new album is called Act II: Cowboy Carter (Ian West/PA)

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

The civil rights movement, which predominantly took place in the 1950s and 1960s, sought to bring about equal rights for black Americans who had been discriminated against under Jim Crow laws which, amongst other things, had mandated racial segregation in public facilities.

The track from 1968 has been covered by famous musicians including Dave Grohl, Sarah McLachlan and Crosby, Stills & Nash.

Beyonce’s version features black female country artists Brittney Spencer, Reyna Roberts, Tanner Adell and Tiera Kennedy.

The Crazy In Love singer was praised by critics for her adaptability in straddling the country-pop genre when her album dropped on March 29.

Ten days before she released the record, the pop star said her latest offering had come from an experience where she “did not feel welcome”, which inspired her to do a deep dive into the history of country music.

On Instagram she said: “This album has been over five years in the making.

“It was born out of an experience that I had years ago where I 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.

“It feels good to see how music can unite so many people around the world, while also amplifying the voices of some of the people who have dedicated so much of their lives educating on our musical history.”

The 32-time Grammy-winner also said she was “honoured” to become the first black woman to top Billboard’s country chart, but hopes that an artist’s race – in relation to music genres – will one day become “irrelevant”.

Act II: Cowboy Carter also includes a cover of Dolly Parton’s Jolene and features a 22-second introduction from the acclaimed country singer.