Paul McCartney provides verdict on Beyoncé’s cover of The Beatles

Last week, with the release of her eighth studio album, Cowboy Carter, Beyoncé divided musical opinion by taking on the genre of country rock, imbuing it with her own distinctive pop sensibility. Towards the beginning of the record, the ‘Queen of Pop’ covered the classic Beatles track ‘Blackbird’, written by Paul McCartney for the White Album back in 1968.

Covering The Beatles is a tricky affair, even for somebody as talented and accomplished as Beyoncé. ‘Blackbird’ is a particularly controversial choice for a cover, as it is among the most delicate, beautiful and vulnerable tracks the band ever recorded.

It makes sense, therefore, that Beyoncé did not stray too far from the structure of the original recording for her cover, as opposed to her cover of ‘Jolene,’ which reinvents the structure and content of Dolly Parton’s original.

Beyoncé’s cover, dubbed ‘Blackbiird’, even utilises instrumentation from the original tapes recorded by The Beatles, adding to its sense of authenticity. Nevertheless, the idea of a modern pop sensation covering somebody as legendary and influential as The Beatles proved too much for some of the more elitist members of the Fab Four’s fan group. However, McCartney himself has now taken to social media to voice his own opinion on the cover.

Writing on Instagram, McCartney shared, “I am so happy with Beyoncé’s version of my song ‘Blackbird’.”

He continued: “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.”

Here, McCartney refers to the original intent of the track, written in the wake of the ‘Little Rock Nine’ during the civil rights movement, in which nine Black students were enrolled in a high school that had been racially segregated. The students were prevented from entering the school, facing abuse and assault from the white population of Little Rock. Given its deep roots in the fight for racial equality and Black civil rights, it seems a perfect addition to Cowboy Carter.

In a final ringing endorsement of the cover, McCartney wrote, “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!” So, before you scoff at the idea of Beyoncé daring to cover The Beatles, remember that Macca himself has given the song his seal of approval.

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