Tag Archives: blackbird

Blackbird with Blue Eyes

13 Sep

Can you guess the two songs that are going to be featured in this version of “Six Degrees of Your iPod?” For those new to the Music Court, “Six Degrees of Your iPod” is a little iPod-related game we play at the blog. It’s not iPod specific, actually. Any randomized music generator will do. Here are the rules. Take out your music device and put it on shuffle. Then skip through six songs and write them all down. Can you connect the first song to the sixth song? That’s the purpose of the game. Random music connections! I’d love to read any of your own attempts at the game, so if you happen to be shuffling through your portable music device and you play, please comment with your results. Here is what I came up with today. The first song to appear was:

1.) “Blackbird” by The Beatles

Can you get any better than this simple McCartney classic? Seriously, McCartney and Lennon were masters of short and sweet pieces. Well, they were masters of all types of songs. I’m sure if you asked them to lay down some salsa beats they would have obliged. But that is completely irrelevant.

McCartney wrote “Blackbird” as a symbolic piece dedicated to the civil rights struggle of African Americans in the United States. The peaceful guitar riff was inspired by Bach’s “Bourree in E Minor, which was a lute piece that, as children, George Harrison and him tried to learn to show off. And, humorously, “Blackbird” is now a beginner guitar necessity. Just like “Smoke on the Water” anyone who picks up a guitar must try his/her hand at playing “Blackbird,” in some parts to show off to the room.

The song appeared on the White Album.

2.) “In The Pockets” by The Tallest Man on Earth

3.) “Genesis 3:23” by The Mountain Goats

4.) “Why Can’t We Be Friends” by War

5.) Generator ^ First Floor” by Freelance Whales

6.) “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” by CSN(Y)

Crosby Stills Nash and Sometimes Young. “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” arguably this super groups most famous song, sparked the formation of CSN in the first place. The song, written by Stephen Stills, works with a crafty, somewhat deceptive title. Suite, in the classic sense, means an ordered set of musical pieces, usually four in number like the song. And then the possible  Sweet refers to the song’s subject, Stills’ ex-girlfriend, singer-songwriter Judy Collins, who apparently has some pretty sweet blue eyes. It really is one hell of a break-up song.

Connection: There are some interesting connections between both the Beatles and CSNY and there is an independent connection between the songs. After forming, prior to Neil Young joining the group, the group failed an audition at the Beatles’ Apple Records. That wasn’t a very wise move for the label. The band became pretty succesful. But there were no hard feelings. The band’s first live gig was at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago in August of 1969 and the band opened with “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” before launching into a cover of…”Blackbird” by the Beatles. Cool, right? The show was on August 17. Hmm…that date sounds familiar. They mentioned that they would be performing the next day at something called Woodstock, wherever that was. Well, after the show they went to Woodstock, where they went on stage at 3 a.m., August 18, and performed “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” followed by “Blackbird” again.

The Beatles did not perform at Woodstock for a variety of potential reasons. Lennon may have requested there be a spot of Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band which was denied. I doubt that, though. I could’ve performed there. I mean, Sha Na Na did. Another potential reason was that Lennon wanted to play but his entrance into the U.S. from Canada was blocked by Nixon. Also, seems a bit farfetched. Most likely it was a combination of the Beatles’ being on the verge of collapse and the fact that they had not performed an official concert since 1966.

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