Beatles: Blackbird Meaning
Song Released: 1968
Covered By: Glee Cast (2011)
Get "Blackbird" on MP3:Get MP3 from iTunes
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
1TOP RATED#1 top rated interpretation:
This song is totally about the civil rights movement! it SO shows! (I'm REALLY sorry if this sounds racist, but the Blackbird is an African American experiencing the civil rights movement) Here are a few lines:
"Blackbird singing in the dead of night": during slavery, the slaves had to do things under cover
"Take these broken wings and learn to fly": Even though you've been miss treated, still try to be free
"You were only waiting for this moment to arise": you've been waiting for people to help you.
"Take these sunken eyes and learn to see": even though there's a ton of bad things, try to see the good in the world
"You were only waiting for this moment to be free.": your race has always wanted to be free.
"Blackbird fly Blackbird fly": Be free!
"Into the light of the dark black night": This is hard! Let's see if I can word this right; maybe it's like, bad things have been happening, but good things are just around the corner!
This is most likly WAY off. I'm just guessing!
2TOP RATED#2 top rated interpretation:anonymous Sep 9th 2009 report
Paul McCartney's genius is truly understated...
MLK was black
black symbolizes death
someone has died
blackbirds do sing at night - in the dead of night
the night is the veil of tyranny - but MLK speaks out in the night - the blackbird
broken wings (angels/church) and sunken eyes - someone great has died
destiny - MLK called - all your life (past tense) you were only waiting for this moment to arise (turn one's back on slavery)
death is a freedom - only waiting for this moment to be free - end of slavery.
death's journey - into the light of the dark black night.
MLK freed black Americans from tyranny by showing that they could walk out of it - but for him there was a price - his life.
3TOP RATED#3 top rated interpretation:anonymous Jul 23rd 2008 report
Since it's already been established earlier that Blackbird was deliberately used so that it could apply to everyone, my interpretation would be how it applied to me. Maybe it's how other people might see it too. The first time I heard the song I didn't really get it but then it felt like the song was talking to the youth.
feeling like you're an outcast, teen angst, being insecure, this is how I saw the blackbird.
Singing in the dead of night, because none of us really want to show our pain. We're all so very happy and loud when we're with other people, but then when we are in our room trying to fall asleep with what we've become, it's hard. It's like I feel that whatever I have to say about my pain would just come out as whining.
I have this scenario in my head of a young lady/man looking out into the moon beside a window. I don't know if anybody else does.
It's hard trying to be so sure when you really don't know much about the world. It gets depressing thinking about the future you don't know about. You're scared about whether or not you're doing the right thing or if you're even on the right path. You want to be all that you have to be and can be, but in the back of your mind, you can't.
But you have to face it. You have to learn to fly and all your life you were waiting for that moment when you can actually be yourself already, when you know your dreams can come true and there's no more feeling of hopelessness.
It's like the song's saying the time is now for you to get over it and that you can do it.
I also saw it as something that can be applicable to the state of the youth in the 60s when the ideals started depleting. If you lost that much hope for something you really believed in (like paradise maybe), you might benefit from listening to this song.
P.S. I agree with the whole American Civil Rights Movement interpretation. I'm just saying that the music translates through the ages.
anonymous Mar 23rd 2021 report
Paul McCartney wrote this to and for Black women. To keep hope and faith even in the dark moments of racism and terror. He said so, and there is no need for interpretation. Still, it’s obvious even under the veiled words and phrases.
anonymous Sep 19th 2019 report
This song is about the Dark Night of the Soul.
anonymous Dec 26th 2018 report
I watched an interview with Paul McCartney and he said when he was in America he was having lunch at a restaurant in the south the police came in dragged a black woman screaming and yelling from the restaurant. When he asked what she did he was told that she tried to sit at the counter. He said it really effected him. He wrote this song and said in the UK woman and girls are referred to as birds. Hence the title Blackbird. It is definitely about civil rights movement He found the woman in the song years later.
anonymous Mar 25th 2018 report
Before my dad died in 1990 he played this song and told me to make sure it was played at his funeral. I was only 10 years old but I was very close with him. In the middle of the nights he would wake me up and take me places with him. He said I kept him safe as an angel watching over him. The places we went on those dark nights were quick and I would stay in the old car surrounded by trees, listening to the black night and blackbirds song. His death was a mysterious death and many are still puzzled by it today. Small town yet big on the map of darkness and corruption. There are may that see me and say.."I don't know what happened but I promise I wasn't involved" Others, "I would tell you but then you would be in as much danger as he was, because he was in trouble and feared from what he knew." Just to let the record show...Blackbird was about personal freedom. The song was played at his funeral and on the back of his tombstone reads..."All of his life he was just waiting for this moment to arrive"
I think initially Paul wrote this song about himself breaking free from the Beatles...John informed the group he wanted to quit and it was Paul that told John to hold off announcing his decision, only to take advantage himself of being the one to leave the Beatles. I love the line, Blackbird fly, into the light of the dark black night. Could be why he named his next band Wings. Paul also could have changed his mind about the songs meaning to coincide with the civil rights movement in later years.
anonymous Mar 28th 2015 report
This song is about freedom. The blackbird spy plane is black and flew very fast at night to help it prevent the Cold War catastrophic bombs. It's skill "singing in the dead of night" is flying faster than any other jet ever, flying alone, providing tactical information when and how nobody else could. As technology out of the 1950's, and probably Roswell ETs, it was increasingly put down as "way out" and "old fashioned" idea of forceful fuel guzzling "Broken wings" and "sunken eyes". The phrase "learn to fly" means "do your job without using so much fuel". Finally, the repeated last phrase, "you were only waiting for this moment to arise" means that the hopes and dreams of America and the Skunk Works engineers particularly who made this phenomenal jet come true finally and arrived, technology putting the USSR to eventual ruin.
anonymous May 19th 2013 report
Blackbird singing in the dead of night is symbolic of doing something you have not done before. Take these broken wings and learn to fly makes me think about my own brokenness and the realization that I need to be the one to learn to set myself free from it rather than hoping someone will save me. All your life you were only waiting for this moment to arrive speaks to the fact that at any moment we can wake up and see the truth of who we are no matter how long we have been living in darkness. Into the light of the dark black night means before where you saw only blackness you now see light and hope, a new realization about life. Enlightenment. Take these sunken eyes and learn to see...see the truth that you can be free...sunken tells me even though it took you a long time to arrive at this truth (it implies old age) you can still learn to see yourself and the world the way that God sees it. In truth and love! I can see how it fits perfectly with the civil rights movement as it fits perfectly with my wounded heart from times where I was mistreated and abused. Peace and hope y'all!
anonymous Dec 22nd 2012 report
The inspiration for this song I'm sure is civil rights movement. The beauty of it is how easily it lends itself to interpretation & speaks to people. For me, it was used to answer yet another prayer for my brother. He died on 10.12.12 suddenly. His life always broke my heart & his pain was so deep. I always wanted to help him. I was as patient as I could be but my own family comittments limited me in more ways than he understood. He was hurt by that. And now I'm hurt wondering if he knew how much I loved him & wanted a better life him. I find myself thinking of ways to get closure. My mind keeps going back to fortune teller. But my heart will not. I think its wrong. So I say to God. Why dont You just answer my prayer right away so I can this fortune telling, medium psychic thing outta my head. I get out of my car at 9p. Walk toward my house and when im about 10ft away this bird flys out of nowhere from right behind a little bush and scares me. I remember thinking it looked like a pigeon but softer looking like a dove. The bird chirped snd chirped right over and behind my house. I could hear it as he got further away. Didn't think much more of it. Before bed I went out front to see if the bird came back. When I reviewd the whole experience in my head. It came to me. Blackbird singing in the dead of night...you know the rest. As I start singing the song in my head, the words are resonating to me. It was my immediate answered prayer. The song always made me think of my brother & his big broken heart. I made a cd after he died and course added that song. He is a free spirit now. He is no longer in pain. I get comfort from that. Eddie was his name & he had a huge heart. Made him happy to help other people in need. Thanks for reading & who knows maybe this speaks to someone else. Merry Christmas Blackbird lovers : )
anonymous Nov 1st 2012 report
This song has no decided meaning. But to me, it's about freedom. The blackbird represents an individual, coming to acceptance. The frase "singing in the dead of night" is repeated in the same exact from through out the song, suggesting that it's important. I say that it means speaking alone, and talking when no one else can stand up. Much like the Sound of Silence. So after this person has been mistreated and put down, it has "Brocken wings" and "sunken eyes". Brocken wings may represent lost hope, and "sunken eyes" may represent lost dreams, etc. The frase "learn to fly" means "take these dreams and hopes and make them REAL. Finally, for the last frase, and the simplest, "you were only waits for this moment to arise." In a way, we are all waiting for our hopes and dreams to come true. And apparently so does the person this song represents.
This is my interpretation. Btw... I'm only thirteen..... Plz don't disagree to harshley
Since many cultures, yes even the English, associated the blackbird/crow with death and darkness it could be the meaning of someone waiting in those final minutes of life to pass on into the next life.
Blackbirds are silent in the dead of night, unless they land on a windowsill and caw indicating emminent death. Take these broken wings and learn to fly, the body is ravaged with disease, yet must be readied for the passing. We all await this moment.
Sunken eyes and learn to see. Again an indication of a very sick person on death's doorstep. See the reality of the passing, we all await the final moment to be free of our mortal coil.
Into the light of the dark black night. We always hear about going toward the light at the moment of death - heck the Ghost Whisper made this comment mainstream. And yes death is as dark as the blackest night.
With the final four verses being the same, "you were only waiting for the moment to arise" is the synomym for the Pheonix raising out of the ashes, one raising from mortailty to the higher plane, imortality if you will.
anonymous Jun 5th 2012 report
I agree the meaning to be about death. may it be death of a loved one, or death to a part of yourself, death of a friendship or dream. but what i love about it, is not just the lyrics and metaphors, but the hope it leaves you with at the end. :)
anonymous May 6th 2012 report
I always believed 'Blackbird' was a personal tribute to the Beatles Manager, Brian Epstein. The "White Album" (that this song is from) was the first album released after Brian Epstein's death at age 32. Epstein's death was ruled as an accidental drug overdose, but was speculated as a suicide (Epstein had written a suicide note in the past). (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Epstein)Paul wrote 'Blackbird' right after returning from India (where all four Beatles had been) after Brian's death. The black bird has been identified with death; and (as I interpret) the lyrics identify the death as being set free. ".....take these sunken eyes and learn to see....fly into the light of the dark black night..... All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to be free......"
George Harrison said "..death (is) only in the physical sense. We know he (Brian Epstein) is OK now..."
Now, I see in other posts (and sites) that Paul stated this was about the civil rights movement, but... I still like to think this was a personal song, that later Paul believed would be commercial if he said it was about the civil rights movement; and then he later couldn't deny (such as at a performance for President Obama). In a 1968 interview about the 'White Album', Paul said nothing about 'Blackbird' being a song for the civil rights movement.
Remember, the Beatles also stated 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' had nothing to do with LSD....etc. Sometimes I think they just liked to have a little fun.
Check out this site about the White Album:
anonymous Mar 1st 2012 report
The beauty of music, is that it can be interpreted in any way that has meaning to you.
For me, this songs relates to my father's passing. He battled alcoholism until it eventually killed him.
Blackbird, Fly is him passing on. He has been waiting for his "moment" to pass to a happier, peaceful place. People say it is your fault for becoming an alcoholic, that is true to some extent. I saw a different person develop in front of my eyes, who was NOT my father. I feel as though the disease took control of him, body and soul.
It also is a message from him to me, asking me to continue on in life with no regrets. Put yourself back together, and Fly.
Love this song.
More Beatles song meanings »
Blog posts mentioning Beatles
|I Don't Care Anymore||anonymous|
|Milk and Cookies||anonymous|
|Uncle John's Band||anonymous|
|China Cat Sunflower||anonymous|
|From a Distance||anonymous|
|Last Train to London||anonymous|
|The Fool on the Hill||anonymous|
|The Alabama Song||anonymous|
|The Marvelous Toy||anonymous|