Blackbird Flying Above a Long Winding Road

by on June 17, 2011 · 15 comments

in From the Soul, Popular

Photo by Del Brown via

I went to see Sir Paul the other night. Talking about Mr. McCartney. As in Fab Four. And all I can say is Wow!

I love the dude and that love was further solidified, intensified, and personalized, in particular, one moment, when I found myself completely into the moment, with my head laid back, swaying as Paul in an aging, yet still eloquently and deeply expressive one of a kind voice, sang:

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Ah, can that man ever shower an audience with music that gets in your bones. I remember when that song came on the scene, dedicated to the struggles of the 60’s – a decade so inspiring to me that I’ve never come down from the high. I truly had waited for those dearly beloved moments to arise.

And I haven’t come down from how Paul that night blew us away from the time he hit the MGM stage until he walked away, after two encores, with four musicians who, as they say, came to play: a guitarist who could do the most funky things with a pick; a bassist who got in rhythm with our heart beats with each lick; a synthesizing keyboardist who knew the sounds that touch the soul; a percussionist who must have had eight hands that were in rhythm with the world, the way he played – and everybody could “sang they booty’s off,” my homeys and I used to say.

Before he sang Blackbird I hadn’t thought much about our connection, Paul’s and mine, and we go way back. I remember when I met him. He was in my living room on the Ed Sullivan Show on my tv. Girls were screaming to the sky as the Beatles told them: “I want to hold your hand!” I’m sucking beer in my living room trying to understand although there was something I liked about their energy and I liked the sound of the band.

Photo by Balaji.B via

But the girls in my sixth grade class, at just the mention of their name, would go insane and to stay in tune with them, if I was to “educate” them, I started paying attention to those mop headed young men and watched the music world change before my very eyes.

Then their sheer artistry, their diverse musicality, the magic in their poetry began to captivate me. I mean how does one, like me, who was going through all kinds of dismal emotional upheavals in his life, after years of glory and good times, ignore the imagery pouring from the likes of: “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, now it looks as though they are here to stay, oh, I believe in yesterday” or “when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me, shine until tomorrow, let it be.” I grabbed a hold of the energy and let such sound tracks comfort me.

That night my mind, as it is wont to do, reflected, as the music played, on the parallels in our lives, how Paul and I have traversed some of the same roads in life, both literally and figuratively. He found a true soul mate. Linda. So did I. Nancy. His was a photographer. Mine too had a way with lens. His beautiful woman introduced him to vegetarianism and was a steel minded advocate for animal rights. Ditto that for the wonderful woman who lit up my life.

Then there’s Tucson. Paul and Linda owned a ranch there. She died there. I was born there. She attended the University of Arizona. I earned two degrees there.

In line with our cosmic relationship, Paul and his master music makers played “The Long and Winding Road” with pictures, I’m assuming Linda photographed, of sahuaros and desert mountains and canyons and streams and sunsets projected on a giant screen. At that point I might as well have been on stage I was so in the flow, my mind on the go regarding how, in my lifetime, I’ve, so to speak, like a Blackbird, flown above winding roads, gasping for air of freedom, struggling to maintain my cool, afraid to lose it as the anger that comes with second class citizenship threatened to take over my will, my spirit, trying to drown the abundance of love inside me and replace it with the kind of bitterness that has felled many a human like me.

Somehow, however, in my times of trouble and moments of darkness, along that long winding road that has been my life, I was able to overcome in the manner Paul encouraged so many years ago:

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free

I took that suggestion, sensing, I guess, that “there will be an answer” so I just “let it be, let it be…” And I’ve lived free.

What a flight it has been. Through Paul’s music we have remained friends. And still all I can say is: Wow!

Pictures courtesy of balaji.b and Del Brown via

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

annagrace June 17, 2011 at 11:29 am

Ernie- what beautiful soaring words! I hope Sir Paul reads them.


Ernie McCray June 17, 2011 at 11:54 am

Thank you. Oh, it would be a gas if somehow my sentiments made it to him.


Gwen Pierce June 17, 2011 at 3:25 pm

What a lovely story! I must say, all of the Beatle’s tunes and lyrics are so captivating. Great photo!


Ernie McCray June 17, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Captivating they are.


Allen Lewis June 17, 2011 at 4:39 pm

WOW!!! I’m thinken you were at a show with just Paul, how very cool that must have been. As for many great events we remember, at 60 + years I remember the very time when I heard the Beatles for the first time. I started my first band in OB in the early 60’s and wanted to play some Beatles tunes, but they were not easy songs to play. I know play Swing jazz and under stand why I had trouble. Great post, Cheers.


Ernie McCray June 17, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Thanks. Hey, I just clicked on your “avatar” – trying to act like I’ve got the lingo down but I heard your music. Mellow. Cool. Smooth. Nice. Fly. Phat and all that.


Peter June 17, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Your writing skill continue to dazzle and your humanity deepens with ever month! Great piece. Hey, we are having a beer brewing, barbequing Fathers’ Day Sunday and would love to have you drop by…bring whatever kids and whoever else you have in tow. Love to see ya. Hugs. Peter


Ernie McCray June 18, 2011 at 11:31 am

Late afternoon work?


Peter June 18, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Sure does! Come on by…


Allen Lewis June 17, 2011 at 10:00 pm

thank you Ernie for the compliment on my band, but I must say… I have been a fan of yours, you wright like a musician… music on paper. not to shabby with a camera ether.


Ernie McCray June 18, 2011 at 11:32 am

Ah, man, just what I needed this morning: a swelled head (smile).


Sunshine June 18, 2011 at 4:49 pm

thanx ernie. always refreshing to hear your voice.


Ernie McCray June 18, 2011 at 5:09 pm

And it’s good to hear from you. I hope you’re okay.


Kim June 18, 2011 at 9:45 pm


Your written words are truely lyrical and so vivid. Have you yet published a collection of your stories and poetry? I experienced chills reading about Sir Paul and Linda’s similiarities to your and Nancy’s lives. Again, thank you for sharing these amazing and beautiful memories. Happy Father’s Day!


Ernie McCray June 18, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Thanks, Kim: No, I haven’t published anything beyond my little world. I think about it every now and then and then I get involved with something and have fun with whatever that is and the day is over and I wake up and get into something else. But who knows?


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