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Paul McCartney Praises Beyoncé’s ‘Killer Version’ of ‘Blackbird’: ‘I Spoke to Her on FaceTime and She Thanked Me’ for ‘Letting Her Do It’

Paul McCartney has weighed in on Beyoncé’s cover of “Blackbird,” nestled near the front of her latest album “Cowboy Carter.”

“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 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!”

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He continues by explaining that they connected after he had given his blessing for her to record a rendition of the song. “I spoke to her on FaceTime and she thanked me for writing it and letting her do it,” he continued. “I told her the pleasure was all mine and I thought she had done a killer version of the song. 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. Anything my song and Beyoncé’s fabulous version can do to ease racial tension would be a great thing and makes me very proud.”

McCartney does not mention in his post that she used the master recording of the original guitar-and-foot-tapping backing part he recorded for the Beatles’ White Album in 1968 as the backing track for her new version, as reported earlier this week in Variety. He also receives a co-producing credit on her new recording.

Beyoncé’s lyrically and musically faithful version of the 1968 tune adds additional harmony and/or lead vocals from four Black country singers — Reyna Roberts, Tanner Adell, Brittney Spencer and Tiera Kennedy — along with some fresh bass and orchestration, over McCartney’s original solo acoustic track.

This is not the only cover on Beyoncé’s new album; “Cowboy Carter” also includes a new version of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” (with an updated rewrite of the country star’s lyrics and song structure).

“Blackbird” was first heard on the self-titled album from the Beatles also known as the White Album. Penned by McCartney (credited as Lennon-McCartney), the song’s inspirations were long variously credited to the sounds of blackbirds in Rishikesh, India (where the Beatles stayed studying Transcendental Meditation), ailing family members or the civil rights movement in America in the ’60s.

The singer-songwriter solidified the origins of the song’s inspiration in a recent interview with GQ.

“I was sitting around with my acoustic guitar, and I’d heard about the Civil Rights troubles that were happening in the 60s in Alabama, Mississippi, Little Rock in particular,” McCartney said.

“So that was in my mind, and I just thought, ’It would be really good if I could write something that if it ever reached any of the people going through those problems, it might give them a little bit of hope. So I wrote ‘Blackbird.’ In England, a bird is a girl, so I was thinking of a Black girl going through this; now is your time to arise; set yourself free; take these broken wings.”

“One of the nice things about music is that you know that a lot of people listening to you are going to take seriously what you’re saying in the song. I’m very proud of the fact that The Beatles’ output is always really, pretty positive.”

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