Paul McCartney hooked up with a couple of his inspirations over the weekend.
Before his concert on Saturday night (April 30) in Little Rock, Ark., he met with Thelma Mothershed Wair and Elizabeth Eckford, two of the Little Rock Nine, a group of black students who fought discrimination and segregation at the all-white Little Rock Central High School in 1957 in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown vs. Board of Education decision.
The Nine's battle inspired McCartney to write the Beatles’ "Blackbird."
McCartney tweeted a photo of him with Wair and Eckford before the show, writing, "Incredible to meet two of the Little Rock Nine -- pioneers of the civil rights movement and inspiration for 'Blackbird.'"
Incredible to meet two of the Little Rock Nine--pioneers of the civil rights movement and inspiration for Blackbird.pic.twitter.com/QrnOQnqrFX
Introducing the song at the Verizon Arena, McCartney told the crowd, "Way back in the 1960's, there was a lot of trouble going on over civil rights, and particularly in Little Rock. And we would notice this on the news back in England, and so it's, like, a really important place for us, because to me, this is where civil rights started, really (applause). Y'know, 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."
McCartney's One On One tour continues tonight (May 2) in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.