♫ The Long And Winding Road♫

No redux tonight!  I finally finished my morning post and responding to comments early enough to have the energy left to properly research a song!

Tonight’s selection is strange, in that it is a Beatles recording, yet while it reached the #1 spot in the U.S., it did not chart in the Beatles home country, the UK!  For me, at least, this is one of those that can get stuck in my head for days at a time, for I mostly love the tune, never knew the full lyrics until tonight!

From their 1970 album Let It Be, this was written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon–McCartney.  The road McCartney is talking about is the B842 which runs down the east coast of Kintyre and on into Campbeltown near his Scottish farmhouse.  Says McCartney …

“I just sat down at my piano in Scotland, started playing and came up with that song, imagining it was going to be done by someone like Ray Charles. I have always found inspiration in the calm beauty of Scotland and again it proved the place where I found inspiration.”

Paul McCartney offered this song to Tom Jones in 1968 on the condition it be his next single. He had Without Love (There is Nothing) set for release so he turned down the offer, something he would later regret. Speaking with Media Wales in 2012, Jones explained:

“I saw him (McCartney) in a club called Scotts Of St. James on Jermyn Street in London. I said to him When are you going to write me a song then Paul? He said, aye I will then. Then not long after he sent a song around to my house, which was ‘The Long And Winding Road,’ but the condition was that I could do it but it had to be my next single.

Paul wanted it out straight away. At that time I had a song called ‘Without Love’ that I was going to be releasing. The record company was gearing up towards the release of it. The timing was terrible, but I asked if we could stop everything and I could do ‘The Long And Winding Road.’ They said it would take a lot of time and it was impractical, so I ended up not doing it. I was kicking myself. I knew it was a strong song.”

The Beatles recorded this in January 1969 as a fairly simple ballad. By 1970, The Beatles were breaking up and and Phil Spector was brought in to go through the tapes and produce the album. Spector was known for his “Wall Of Sound” recording technique, where he added many instruments and layered the tracks to create a very full sound. On this track, he took out most of The Beatles instruments and added a string section and choir (The Mike Sammes Singers). The result was very different from what the group originally had in mind.

Even though he wrote this song, Paul McCartney didn’t go to the sessions where Spector produced it. When McCartney heard the results, he made it clear that he hated what Spector did to his song, and tried to get the original version, which was mixed by engineer Glyn Johns, on the album. The band was already falling apart, and this caused further turmoil within the group, as Harrison and Lennon both supported Spector. Paul has not changed his stance over the years, and still believes Spector butchered it. Lennon and Harrison felt otherwise, and each had Spector produce their next solo efforts. Lennon said of Spector’s work on Let It Be:

“Phil was given the s–ttiest load of badly recorded s–t with a lousy feeling to it, and he made something of it.”

Some of the many artists who covered this song: Tony Bennett, George Benson, Cilla Black, Ray Charles, Cher, Judy Collins, Peter Frampton, Aretha Franklin, Richie Havens, Cissy Houston, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Liberace, The London Symphony Orchestra, Barry Manilow, Mantovani, Johnny Mathis, Bill Medley, George Michael, Olivia Newton-John, Billy Ocean, Stu Phillips, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Kevin Rowland, Sarah Vaughan, Andy Williams and Nancy Wilson.  Whew … that’s quite a list!

In an interview shortly before he became British Prime Minister, after five years as Leader of the Opposition, David Cameron told Q magazine that this is his favorite Paul McCartney song. He explained:

“It has a wonderful melody and emotion and pretty much sums up the life of the Leader of the Opposition.”

The Long and Winding Road
The Beatles

The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I’ve seen that road before
It always leads me here
Lead me to you door

The wild and windy night
That the rain washed away
Has left a pool of tears
Crying for the day
Why leave me standing here?
Let me know the way

Many times I’ve been alone
And many times I’ve cried
Anyway, you’ll never know
The many ways I’ve tried

And still they lead me back
To the long winding road
You left me standing here
A long, long time ago
Don’t leave me waiting here
Lead me to your door

But still they lead me back
To the long winding road
You left me standing here
A long, long time ago
Don’t keep me waiting here
Lead me to your door

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul McCartney
The Long and Winding Road lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

32 thoughts on “♫ The Long And Winding Road♫

      • Of course, the world is full of “what-ifs.” It often intrigues me when it is revealed who turned down the part of some iconic film or TV role. So, Jones may have rued his turning down of the song. Plus, turning down McCartney also meant turning down a future song.

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