The Number Ones: The Beatles’ “The Long And Winding Road”

Friday, January 04, 2019

“Intolerable interference.” That’s how Paul McCartney described what Phil Spector did to his song “The Long And Winding Road.” McCartney used the phrase when he filed a lawsuit against the other three Beatles in 1971. McCartney was looking to dissolve the Beatles’ partnership. He gave six reasons for his case, and one of those reasons was the final version of “The Long And Winding Road” — a song inspired by the Beatles’ breakup that also happened to be the Beatles’ last American #1.

McCartney had written “The Long And Winding Road” in 1968, sitting at his piano at his farm in the Scottish countryside. He’s said that, when he wrote it, he was feeling “flipped out and tripped out,” a better turn of phrase than anything he’d write into the song. On paper, it’s a song about a romantic relationship dissolving. And maybe that’s partly what caused McCartney to write the song; he was, after all, ending one relationship and beginning another. But the meta-text — the story that everyone must’ve understood when they heard the song — is that the Beatles were moving away from one another and that the song was McCartney’s reaction to what was happening.

Source: Tom Breihan/


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