As the Beatles' epitaph single, "The Long And Winding Road" was, perhaps, unworthy — particularly given composer McCartney's vociferous dissatisfaction with Spector's strings, choirs and — particularly — the harp, dubbed on over the master and wiping part of the vocal track to fit it all on. This was, after all, the song he singled out as one of his reasons for no longer wishing to play with the band. It has to be said, it does come across rather "Climb Every Mountain", a bit of a pompous post-script under the circumstances. They should maybe've let it be with "Let It Be"
To get a better idea of how he wished it to've sounded, 'as nature intended' (according to the propaganda for the Get Back
/Let It Be
project), listen to the Anthology
demo or the Naked
take, with George Martin and Glyn Johns at the controls. Make your own mind up.
Different though it is, I'm not convinced that it would have made a better single: although many times I've wondered what a GM arrangement would've done for it. And it is
curious how Paul seems to have the keyboards emulate the instrumentation many times he plays the song live...
Leaving aside the music, it's still a belting lyric, albeit subjected to various adaptations during the course of the journey. Though Macca was ostensibly addressing himself to Linda, it does kinda sound like he was trying to justify his behaviour on the trip to the rest of the band, and maybe the rest of the world too. The Cavern Club, Hamburg, Beatlemania and Pepper
must really have felt like a long, long time ago
.Many times I've been alone, and many times I've cried.
Anyway, you've always known/you'll never know*
The many ways I've tried...
* Delete as necessary, according to which version you're listening to...
The single was released to coincide with the launch of the album and the movie, nearly a year and a half after they'd made it, and a full month after Paul's spilling of the beans over the not-so-very secret secret.
Nothing to add, nothing to be taken away:Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Y-e-e-a-a-h-h-h...