Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Everyone Hates The Long And Winding Road

If there's one Beatles song that is truly buried under controversy it's this one. It's hard to 'hear' the song for what it is because of all the broohaha surrounding it. Let's try to look at what the beef different people have with it.

Paul McCartney

hates this because he claims Spector ruined it by putting a female choir all over it.

The reality is he took a really lousy demo without McCartney's permission or input and released it. Thus ruining Paul's chances of ever releasing a decent definitive version.

John Lennon

dismissed the song as Paul's attempt to write 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'. The reality. McCartney wrote his ballad before Paul Simon.

Correction: that was Let It Be

The song obviously bored the pants off John, explaining, in part, his abysmal bass playing. He later characterised it as part of Paul's "little spurt just before we split" and "the last gasp".

Syrup haters

generally those who detest McCartney for his saccharine streak point to this song as exhibit A in the court of cheesy winsomeness.

The reality. Though it's certainly a mushy ballad, it's not worse than Let It Be, Yesterday or even the first half of Hey Jude. I suspect that the poor performance makes it an easy target.

What do YOU think of this song? Leave me a comment.

Next time – we'll get to the song itself


  1. I think it's a great song - even buried in "syrup" you can tell that the songwriting is pure class. I'm sure most songwriters would give their right arm to come up with a ballad as nice as TLAWR.
    Listening to the LIB outtakes, it doesn't sound finished - it needs more work. Spector took it and overdid things just a tad ;-) But it did need something. McCartney added a brass section when he played it with Wings in the 70s and he still adds a "fake" keyboard string section when he plays it to this day.
    I think the Spector version ruined it for many people, and the fact that McCartney hated it too didn't help. It has been dismissed as part of The Beatles canon when, as you say, it should be up there with Yesterday, Let It Be etc in the list of Macca's best ballads.

  2. Yeah, I actually like this song. But I'm a Macca fan. But I will say the LIBN version is far superior than Specter's version. And I love Specter...outside of the murdering and all that.

  3. @Pete - Thanks for the comment and it's really interesting that Paul 'Spectorized' his own live performances - I didn't know that!

    @Matt - yeah apart from the murdering! When you get a chance to see the Harrison documentary you will see a truly scary interview with Spector. He looks completely unhinged, even as he's saying nice things about George.

  4. The Beatles + Phil Spector = Dismal

  5. I dislike this song. When it comes on the radio, I switch stations. I hardly ever do that to a Beatles song. It's ponderous, melodramatic, and boring.