“The Long and Winding Road,” written by Paul, but attributed to both McCartney and John Lennon. No mistake; this was a McCartney composition. Paul says he created the title when he first traveled to his High Park Farm property in Scotland, which he had bought in 1966. It is a reflective piece, inspired by the road that stretched up the hills in the remote Highlands near Campbeltown. Paul wrote this in 1968, while on his farm at a time when tensions were growing among the Beatles.
As Paul reported to Mike Merritt of the “Sunday Herald in 2003, “I just sat down at my piano in Scotland, started playing and came up with that song, imagining it was going to be done by someone like Ray Charles. I have always found inspiration in the calm beauty of Scotland and again it proved the place where I found inspiration”.
According to Peter Frampton, the song had a somewhat contentious history, as he recalled how Lennon engaged American music producer Phil Spector, rather than George Martin, their regular producer, to help with the “Let it Be” album on which “The Long and Winding Road” is recorded.
The Beatles taped the song several times, but when Spector entered the picture, he overdubbed the song with a small orchestral group and a women’s choir. Paul found it distasteful. At that point, he determined to dissolve the Beatles’ partnership, and taking his case to London’s High Court, he cited one of the reasons for the dissolution as “intolerable inference” by overdubbing “The Long and Winding Road” without his input and consultation. It was the Beatles’ final number-one single on the “Billboard Hot 100” chart in America, but for many fans, the song captured sadness at the disbanding of such a talented group. Brian Wilson of “Rolling Stone” is reported to have said: “When they broke up I was heartbroken. I think they should have kept going.”
Of this incident and the song, Paul said: “I was a bit flipped out and tripped out at that time. It’s a sad song because it’s all about the unattainable; the door you never quite reach. This is the road that you never get to the end of.” Still, the song may mean different things to different people; and whereas, when I was younger, it seemed to be of shared sentimentality and sadness, I now see it as a song of hope and inspiration, and of joy and love of good things to come.
The long and winding road, That leads to your door
Will never disappear, I’ve seen that road before
It always leads me here, Lead me to your door.