There have been many songs by the Beatles that the press and fans alike have postulated on what the song’s origin or inspiration was.
Paul McCartney has always been open about the origin of one of the Beatles greatest ever songs, “Blackbird”. The song was inspired by the story of the Little Rock Nine. This was a group of nine black students who faced racial discrimination after enrolling in the all-white Little Rock Central High School in 1957.
In a wonderful moment over last weekend, McCartney met two of the women who helped inspire the White Album classic “Blackbird” backstage at the singer’s Little Rock, Arkansas, concert Saturday night (April 28th).
Thelma Mothershed Wair and Elizabeth Eckford were two of the nine black students who faced and stood up to the discrimination following the Supreme Court’s historic Brown v. Board of Education decision that allowed the integration of both black and white students in the same high school.
These were troubled times and after the Little Rock Nine had enrolled, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus protested their enrollment into the school, which sparked the Little Rock Crisis. Because of these events a young McCartney was inspired to write the unforgettable song “Blackbird”.
From his personal Twitter account McCartney tweeted “Incredible to meet two of the Little Rock Nine— pioneers of the civil rights movement and inspiration for Blackbird.”
As a way of introduction for the song, McCartney introduced “Blackbird” to the audience by telling them, “Way back in the Sixties, there was a lot of trouble going on over civil rights, particularly in Little Rock. We would notice this on the news back in England, so it’s a really important place for us, because to me, this is where civil rights started.
“We would see what was going on and sympathize with the people going through those troubles, and it made me want to write a song that, if it ever got back to the people going through those troubles, it might just help them a little bit, and that’s this next one.”
Check out McCartney’s performance of “Blackbird” at Little Rock below: