the beatles - "the long and winding road" / by Zack Free

it took me until hearing the incredible naked version to really appreciate this one. i’ve always thought that phil spector’s excessively lush production on the album version was a bit overblown, and that’s saying something, considering the fact that spector is the man that made overblown sound good (his superb work with groups like the ronettes and the crystals would subsequently act as one of the core inspirations for the lo-fi genre). however, the layering on “the long and winding road,” while similarly massive in scale, is pillow soft, and mccartney’s earnest lead vocal is almost drowned out in the mix. in fact, mccartney hated the end product so much that he cited spector’s final mix as one of the reasons that the beatles should disband. after hearing the version included on 2003’s let it be…naked, i can’t say that his argument was unreasonable. hearing this version is incredibly refreshing; finally, all of the instruments have room to breathe, and it’s almost unbearably gorgeous

 

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