LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – JUNE 04: Sir Paul McCartney performs at The Diamond Jubilee Concert in front of Buckingham Palace attended by Queen Elizabeth ll and members of the royal family on June 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Rota/ Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

The timeless 1968 hit “Blackbird” by The Beatles has found a renewed spotlight with Beyoncé’s rendition, “BLACKBIIRD,” on her latest album, COWBOY CARTER. This resurgence prompts a timely revisit to Paul McCartney’s insights on the song, shared during an episode of A Life in Lyrics from iHeartPodcasts last fall.

McCartney revealed in the episode aired on November 29 that the guitar melody drew inspiration from Bach’s “Bourrée in E Minor.” Recalling the spring of 1968, he reminisced, “I think it was in Scotland at the time, on a break, I got this idea of a ‘blackbird singing in the dead of night.’ It was just an image of a blackbird silhouetted, in the dead of night, in this sort of forest somewhere, as being this lonely image.”

Originally conceived from this imagery, the song swiftly evolved into a reflection on the civil rights movement prevalent in the US during that era. McCartney elaborated, “Then it started to be about arising — ‘Take these broken wings.’ So, in other words, I was writing about the civil rights disturbances in Little Rock, particularly, that we’d be hearing about — segregation, and stuff — that shocked us so much.”

He continued, “Sunken eyes seeing, broken wings flying. This is your moment to arise and be free. Then I realized I was sending it in that direction. It now wasn’t an ornithological piece; it was now to do with politics and to do with freedom, really.”

Considering the song’s historical context, it’s noteworthy that Beyoncé’s rendition features vocals from Tanner Adell, Brittney Spencer, Tiera Kennedy, and Reyna Roberts — all Black female country singers, adding layers of significance to the interpretation.