Beyonce’s song BLACKBIIRD might sound awfully familiar to you…well, obviously its a cover of The Beatles’ track Blackbird.

However even more so, the instrumental actually includes elements from Paul McCartney’s original master recording released in 1968 on The Beatles ‘The White Album’.

So why should we care about this other than the fact that the Queen herself covered it?

When McCartney wrote the song he was watching the civil rights movement in the US unfold. In his book Paul McCartney: The Lyrics, he wrote “At the time in 1968 when I was writing Blackbird, i was very conscious of the terrible racial tensions in the US…That imagery of the broken wings and the sunken eyes and the general longing for freedom is definitely of its moment”

In detail, he was inspired by the story of the ‘Little Rock Nine’ a group of teenagers who were the first African American students to enrol at Little Rock’s Central High School. Although the change in federal law had passed, the local governor told the student that could not attend to the point they brought in the national guard to prevent them.

After weeks of this the US President Eisenhower had to step in and sent federal troops to escort the students safely inside, walking through angry mobs and up the school steps. This pinnacle moment of US history stuck with McCartney inspiring the song.

McCartney had the struggle of black women in mind heavily when writing and has been quoted stating:  “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.”


Now back to Beyonce.

In an Instagram post before the album release she said:  “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. Because of that experience, I did a deeper dive into the history of Country music and studied our rich musical archive.”

This has been said to reference her time when she performed her song ‘Daddy Lessons’ with The Chicks at the Country Music Association Awards in 2016 to which she faced the backlash of some who deemed her as unwelcome, they did not believe she belonged there.

In the context of that, Cowboy Carter is a huge stance against those who deemed a black artist was not welcome in the realm of ‘country music’.

Learning of the story behind McCartney’s track Blackbird and some context to the album Cowboy Carter, it’s clear to see just how much weight her cover holds. Not only that, she also brought on four other black female artists to join her firmly showcasing her stance.


Following the album’s release, Beyonce has officially become the first black woman to top Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. The album is a stand of defiance and a lesson in cultural history when you explore the context of it and the artists that feature alongside her. In note of this, Beyonce is quoted stating: “My hope is that years from now, the mention of an artist’s race, as it relates to releasing genres of music, will be irrelevant.”