Exactly three decades ago, on March 29, 1982, what may quite possibly be the greatest song about the joys of black/white
man love brotherhood was released—Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder’s “Ebony and Ivory.”
The song spent seven weeks at the top of the Billboard 100, but that’s not what makes it the classic it is. Sure, there’s a lot about the song we can criticize: it’s a simplistic and overtly idealized look at race relations, the race relations in the song doesn’t even extend beyond the black/white paradigm (what—no love for us Asians?), the piano key metaphor thing is pretty obvious and silly, and no way does this song even come near the heights of the best work of either artist. But despite its many flaws, this song is awesome for one very important reason: without it, we would have never gotten this:
Yes, you may be blind as a bat and I may have sight, but that’s OK. And never has anyone spoken a truer sentiment about brotherhood and acceptance.