Themes Found in The Beatles' "Blackbird"
Many people are not aware of the true meaning of Paul McCartney's famous song "Blackbird." This beautiful, melodic tune is actually a moving tribute to the American civil rights movement. Here is a brief rundown of the themes found in The Beatles' "Blackbird."
The blackbird metaphor
The song "Blackbird" begins with the words: "Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly." "Blackbird" uses the blackbird as a metaphor for the African-American people living under oppression, discrimination and inequality. The blackbird yearns to fly free and unfettered, and the bird's nighttime anthem is something that is not suppressed by sleep.
Waiting for this moment to arrive
The next lyrics refer to the blackbird's anticipation of the next moment, when emancipation begins. The lyrics are accompanied by an uplifting guitar figure that ascends up an octave. The song is in a major key, which adds to the uplifting feeling.
The refrain "blackbird, fly," obviously brings the listener back to the main theme of emancipation. This refrain is accompanied by a suspended-sounding series of chord changes, outlined by major thirds. It is not clear that the chorus is resolved until the end, when McCartney sings "Into the light of the dark, dark night." McCartney uses the blues scale at the end of the chorus, which has its origin in the popular music of African-Americans.
In addition to its renown as one of the most popular songs in the musical lexicon, "Blackbird" is an important civil rights anthem.