A Rock Star Said The Beatles’ Hit ‘The Long and Winding Road’ Isn’t the Best Version of the Song

A star discussed his opinion of a stripped-down version of The Beatles’ “The Long and Winding Road” and a cover of “Blackbird” in an Indigenous language.

Taylor Swift wasn’t the first major musician to go through their back catalog and make major changes. Paul McCartney released a version of the album Let It Be that is wildly different from the original and includes a stripped-down recording of The Beatles’ “The Long and Winding Road.” A star said the later version of “The Long and Winding Road” was superior to the original.

Paul McCartney once removed sounds from The Beatles’ ‘The Long and Winding Road’

Keir Neuringer is a member of the jazz group Irreversible Entanglements. During a 2022 Stereogum article in honor of Paul’s 80th birthday, Neuringer called “The Long and Winding Road” his favorite of Paul’s compositions. “It’s kind of easy for me to wax nostalgic about The Beatles, and McCartney was the most nostalgic of them, lyrically and compositionally,” he said.

“But all that said, I think it’s the stripped-down 2003 mix of ‘The Long and Winding Road’ from Let It Be… Naked that hits all the nostalgia buttons for me — McCartney has said he was referencing Ray Charles with the song, and without Phil Spector’s orchestrations (which Paul hated anyway), it’s a straightforward, beautiful, nostalgic rendering of a beautiful, nostalgic song,” Neuringer added.

Keir Neuringer named a Beatles cover he loved

Neuringer had a lot to say about covers of Paul’s songs. “Paul’s songs are among the most covered in recording history,” Neuringer said. “I think one mark of great songwriting is that the songs lend themselves to reinterpretation — that a songwriter doesn’t write their ego into the song.

“In that light, versions like the recent one of Paul’s ‘Blackbird’ in Mi’kmaq by Emma Stevens and her high school classmates are truly special,” he added. Mi’kmaq is an Indigenous language and Emma Stevens is a country singer.

How ‘The Long and Winding Road’ performed in the United States and the United Kingdom

“The Long and Winding Road” became a huge hit in the United States. It was released as a double A-side single with “For You Blue.” “The Long and Winding Road” and “For You Blue” are a study in contrasts. The former is schmaltzy and overproduced while the latter is upbeat and simple. The tunes topped the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks, staying on the chart for a total of 10 weeks.

The Beatles included the tracks on Let It Be. That record was No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for four of its 97 weeks on the chart. The redux of the album, Let It Be… Naked, hit No. 5 and it lasted on the chart for 16 weeks.

According to The Official Charts Company, “The Long and Winding Road” and “For You Blue” didn’t chart in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, Let It Be reached No. 1 in the U.K. for three weeks. It spent 53 weeks on the chart altogether. Let It Be… Naked climbed up to No. 7 and stayed on the chart for 10 weeks.

Neuringer preferred the “naked” version of The Beatles’ “The Long and Winding Road” even if it didn’t receive as much attention as the original song.

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