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24 Blackbirds Singing Songs of Sixpence

Word on the street is that the old nursery rhyme about the 4 and 20 blackbirds baked in a pie inspired two songs on the White Album: Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird” and John Lennon’s “Cry Baby Cry.” Lennon specifically references it with stanzas that echo the nursery rhyme’s syntax: “The King of Marigold was in the kitchen/Cooking breakfast for the Queen/The Queen was in the parlor/Playing piano for the children of the King.”

McCartney takes only the idea of the blackbird (well, I hear there’s more than 1 way of looking at them). I prefer “Blackbird” to “Cry Baby Cry” (despite the Firefly reference) because McCartney’s treatment is simply prettier and more poetic. He later wrote the song “Jenny Wren,” from his 2005 solo CD Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, as a followup to Blackbird. The Jenny wren reference comes from an alternate final stanza to the sixpence song: “There was such a commotion/That little Jenny wren/Flew down into the garden/And put it back again.”

Here’s Blackbird:

Here’s Jenny Wren:

One comment on “24 Blackbirds Singing Songs of Sixpence

  1. […] 24 Blackbirds Singing Songs of Sixpence (roofpig.wordpress.com) […]

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