The song isn’t literally about a blackbird with broken wings. It’s about the American civil rights movement that was struggling to take off at the time. The bird happens to be purely symbolic.
A Hopeful Song About Resistance
Paul McCartney traced the origins of the song to when he was in Scotland. The idea of “waiting for this moment to arise” grew here – alluding to the struggle of the African-American community in the southern states.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s death in 1968 forever changed the civil rights movement’s course. Paul McCartney and George Harrison wrote “Blackbird,” as a reaction to the chaos. Although gentle in every possible way, the lyrics capture the pervading sense of despair at the time. Other songs such as “Revolution” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” also reflected the ethos of the era.
It was a time when everyone cared deeply about the civil rights moment. For McCartney, ‘Blackbird’ was an ode to minorities experiencing hardships in the States – a little ditty of hope encouraging people to keep the faith and continue resisting.
A Song for all Seasons and Reasons
Despite the song’s political origins, anyone can relate to it – that’s the beauty. The bird struggling to fly is a perfect symbolic fit in situations that seem hopeless. It could be a person unable to get through each day. Or anyone who’s lost sight of themselves. Whatever the reason, The Beatles meant for the song to be a beautiful message of love and hope.