Wednesday, February 5, 2014


This is of interest for several reasons, even if you don't like the Beatles. It's a letter written by Paul McCartney, who seems more than a little pissed off at Phil Spector's fix up of "The Long and Winding Road". Though the letter appears to be written to Allen Klein (manager of John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr), both Phil Spector and John Eastman (Paul McCartney's manager at the time), were copied on it. Imagine McCartney's thought process. First hearing the Spector reworked version, then, rather then getting on the horn with a "WTF?!?" with his bandmates, he decides to make it official. (Oh, to be a fly on the wall during ensuing discussions...) Regardless, he would have to wait thirty three years to release the version he preferred, which appeared on the 2003 semi-reissue Let It Be... Naked. "The Long and Winding Road" is far from a favorite of mine, but I like his spunk.

In case you're reading this on one of those gizmo-phones, and can't read the image of the letter, here's the text:

Dear Sir,
In the future no one will be allowed to add to or subtract from a recording of one of my songs without my permission.

I had considered orchestrating "The Long and Winding Road" but I decided against it. I therefore want it altered to these specifications:-

1. Strings, horns, voices and all added noises to be reduced in volume.
2. Vocal and Beatle instrumentation to be brought up in volume.
3. Harp to be removed completely at the end of the song and original piano notes to be substituted.
4. Don't ever do it again.
Signed Paul McCartney

Here's two versions of "The Long and Winding Road" (both streaming because I don't want Klein or Eastman snooping around here). Full on disclaimer: I'm not posting these because I like the song, It is decidedly not my bag. I'm posting it so you can hear what the fuss was about. Keep in mind the 1970 released version was released just three weeks after the letter was written. That's pretty late in the game to still be wrangling about production. Too late in this case.

The Beatles - The Long and Winding Road (streaming) at YouTube 1970
The Beatles - The Long and Winding Road ("Naked" version) (streaming) at YouTube 2003
Let It Be... Naked at Wikipedia

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