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Beyoncé used original Beatles ‘Blackbird’ backing track for ‘Cowboy Carter’ version with Paul McCartney’s blessing

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It has been confirmed that Beyoncé used The Beatles’ original ‘Blackbird’ backing track in her cover of the song, recorded for ‘Cowboy Carter’.

As well as covering the song for her new country album, it turns out the rendition of the band’s 1968 track are more similar than first thought – with it being revealed that the ‘Cowboy Carter’ version uses instrumental elements taken directly from the Beatles’ original master recording.

According to Variety, that was confirmed by a representative for Beyoncé, who cited the singer’s team as well as other sources

The credits for the album have been gradually shared since the album’s release last week (March 29), and Paul McCartney is listed as playing guitar on the song, as well as one of the producers. However, there is no indication in the wording of the credits that his work on the track is taken from the 56-year-old original.

Bey’s own spin on the song sees it renamed as ‘Blackbiird’ – making a nod to the album’s ‘Act II’ theme. It is just one of many tracks on the album to feature spelling altercations to reference the sequel to ‘Renaissance’.

The original track was written solely by McCartney in 1968 for the band’s self-titled double-LP, aka ‘The White Album’. The finished product is also credited to John Lennon, although was written and recorded entirely by McCartney.

As highlighted by Variety, ‘Blackbird’ was written in response to the US civil rights movement, and title also makes a nod to the British slang “bird” for “girl”.

Beyoncé’s version sees her introduce additional harmony vocals from four Black women in the country music world— Tanner Adell, Tiera Kennedy, Reyna Roberts and Brittney Spencer – as well as add strings and a violin and bass part, all credited to Khirye Tyler. She has also removed the bird noises from the original track in her version.

The cover by the ‘Crazy In Love’ singer doesn’t mark the first time that the renowned singer, bassist and songwriter – as well as other rights-holders – have allowed other artists to use the ‘Blackbird’ tracks. Back in 2019, McCartney gave permission to Rachel Fuller to use the original Beatles track, and incorporate new elements by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Chamber Choir of London.

As well as the rendition of ‘Blackbird’, ‘Cowboy Carter’ also features a re-working of Dolly Parton’s classic hit ‘Jolene’, alongside collaborations with the likes of Miley Cyrus and Post Malone.

Beyoncé recently revealed that Stevie Wonder played harmonica on ‘Jolene’, with RAYE also credited as a co-writer on one ‘Cowboy Carter’ song. Today (April 4) Bey also shared a new remix of the single ‘Texas Hold ‘Em’.

In other news, the singer’s past collaborator Jack White has shared that the singer sent him a bunch of flowers and a handwritten note to thank him for “how much you inspired me on this record”. White wrote: “Keep making beautiful and powerful music, nobody sings like you.”

In a five-star review of ‘Cowboy Carter’, NME wrote: “It’s an undeniable thrill to see [Beyoncé] swing so big on a project that dares her to be so intimate and vocal-focused.”

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