Beyoncé's Country Revolution: What's Behind the Breakthrough

Beyoncé and Paul McCartney: that “duet” hidden in the new album

Beyoncé on vocals. Sir Paul on guitar. The notes are those of “Blackbird”, a Beatles classic recorded by the Liverpool quartet for the eponymous 1968 album, commonly known as the “white album”. For her latest album “Cowboy Carter”, just released and immediately at the top of the world charts, the former Destiny's Child didn't just limit herself to recording a cover of the Beatles song: his version of “Blackbird” is in effect a “duet”if I may say so, hidden in plain sight among the twenty-seven tracks contained on the album. Paul McCartney, who accompanies the vocals on “Listen” on the six strings, however, has never set foot in the recording studio. How is it possible?

Variety, the bible of American show biz, was responsible for revealing the curiosity and was intrigued by it presence of Macca's name among the producer credits of the cover of “Blackbird” recorded by Beyoncé. The editors of the magazine discovered that the American diva in recording her version of the Fab4 classic was able to use the original tapes of the song and extrapolate some parts, such as the tapping of the feet and the same acoustic guitar played in 1968 by Paul McCartney. To these elements, Bey asked producer Khirye Tyler – whose name is mentioned in the credits together with those of McCartney and the pop star himself – to add others: specifically, a string section and a bass line. The former Beatle's press officer confirmed this to Variety. Paul McCartney and Beyoncé are linked by a long friendship and last year the Baronet was also spotted in the audience of a show of the “Renaissance World Tour” of the voice of “Listen”.

The fact that Beyoncé wanted to include her version of “Blackbird” in her country album is not a coincidence: McCartney said that he wrote the song being inspired by civil rights movement which was at its peak in the United States at the time, especially with black women in mind (hence the play on the British slang “bird”).

“All of us were very attentive to those issues, and this is a song addressed to a black woman who is experiencing a difficult situation: 'Have faith, there is hope.' As often happens to me, instead of being specific and singing 'Black woman living in Little Rock' I chose a symbolism,” he said, alluding to the intervention of the United States Supreme Court which in 1959 imposed racial desegregation in the schools of the capital of Arkansas . Although the song is also attributed to his partner John Lennon, like practically all the songs of the Lennon-McCartney duo of those years, .“Blackbird” was actually composed by Paul alone, recorded in Studio 2 at Abbey Road in June 1968 while John was working on “Revolution 9” in the adjacent Studio 3. Already in 2019 McCartney agreed to Rachel Fuller permission to recover the original tapes of “Blackbird” and to add some parts from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chamber Choir of London.

A week after its release, “Cowboy Carter” continues to amaze, among “easter eggs” and curiosity. Like the one, which emerged in recent days, relating to cover of “Jolene” by Dolly Parton, for which Beyoncé gave up stream and download royalties. Despite having slightly rewritten the lyrics of the country classic originally written and recorded by the queen of the genre Dolly Parton, Mrs. Carter has in fact decided not to appear as co-author of the new version and the only name credited in the “songwriting” field of the platforms of streaming is that of Dolly Parton herself.