Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Maybe you should listen to: The Long and Winding Road.

Both versions. The full-on Phil Spector-engineered version from Let It Be (which took eight days, 18 violins, four violas, four cellos, a harp, three trumpets, three trombones, two guitarists and 14 singers), as well as the haunting bare-bones ballad it was written to be, as heard on Let It Be... Naked, and Anthology 3.

Why? 1. It's often described as the song that broke up the Beatles. 2. It's claimed to be about B842, a 50-kilometre Scottish road that winds along the coast of Kintyre to Campbeltown. (Which, they tell me, is home to a distinctively briny single malt called Springbank.) 3. It's written by my favourite Beatle, even though contractual agreements led it to be listed as Lennon/ McCartney. Like Yesterday. 4. He sang it to close Live 8 this year. (Well, not quite, since he worked his way into the la-la-laing from Hey Jude.) 5. The Spector version is the only Beatles track on which Lennon played bass. (With good reason, too.) 6. It was their last No.1. 7. The two versions are separated by 35 years, the death of two Beatles, and much, much lobbying. 8. It might lead you to listen to the rest of Let It Be, which remains a peculiarly fitting epitaph to the Beatles -- the final chapter of a story that began with I Wanna Hold Your Hand.

And, most of all, because: 9. It utterly blows me away each time I hear it.

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