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"Long, Long, Long"

Categories: Beatles songs

"Long, Long, Long" George Harrison/Beatles artwork by Ant
It's been a long, long, long time:
How could I ever have lost you,
When I loved you?


I've seen this song described as a let-down. More rightly, George's finale for "The White, Side Three" serves as a very necessary come-down from the previous ride.

"You" was God, according to the composer, though the sentiments of the lyric are equally appropriate for the bonding of two earthly souls. George and Pattie were still very much together at this time: she'd been along for that first acid trip with him and John what seemed like a lifetime ago, and — fresh back from Rishikesh to their bungalow in Esher — they were equally united on their spiritual trip.

John wasn't around for the monumentally mellow session which spawned the track. Bet he kicked himself for missing it when he heard the tapes! Harrison's vocal is simply stunning. The old 'ethereal', 'haunting' and 'other-worldly' clich├ęs are difficult to avoid: the double-tracking (and Paul's harmonies) giving it simultaneously a faraway feel and a right up closeness. GM's production makes this a privileged private invite to a very intimate Beatle moment.

George's intricately intertwining acoustic guitar parts do nothing but compound the sensation, flowing on within and without of Paul's softly undulating bassline. Ringo was clearly fully-tuned into the great cosmic duality of it all, with his percussive touches helping get your feet back on the ground and sending you spinning away across the universe by equal measures.

Engineer Chris Thomas was outstanding in following Mr Starkey's quirks and Mr Harrison's Inner Light all at the same time with his piano part, whilst Mr McCartney waltzed that fluty motif in and out through a heavily customized Hammond organ.

They had, indeed, been a long, long, long time trying to get the whole thing together if the album take really was the sixty-seventh attempt...

The Leslie speaker of said keyboard is said to have been responsible for setting a Blue Nun wine bottle dancing on the top of it when Paul hit a specific note at the start of the outro. I'm guessing it was empty, which would also account for the song's delicately chilled-out bouquet.

And why he decided to keep the key pressed.

Rings rattled back with his snaredrum,
and George with that wonderful wail.
Yep, John must have really been kicking himself,
When he heard both the take and the tale!

25th Feb, 2010 — Happy Birthday George, 1943 to eternity: you know we still need you.
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