Day 152: “Long, Long, Long”

When was it recorded?   Oct. 7-9, 1968

When was it first released, and on which album?   Nov. 22, 1968 on “The Beatles”

Who wrote it?   Harrison

Have I heard this song before?   Yes

What my research dug up:

Now that my White album and I have spent some quality time together, I can better appreciate what the Beatles Bible calls “[t]he spiritual heart” of the record. According to the BB, “‘Long, Long, Long’ provided a moment of calm between the raucous ‘Helter Skelter’ and the politically-charged ‘Revolution 1.’”

Like a slew of songs from George’s solo career, “Long, Long, Long” reads like a romantic love song but is really about religion.

“The ‘you’ in Long, Long, Long is God. I can’t recall much about it except the chords, which I think were coming from ‘Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands’ – D to E minor, A, and D – those three chords and the way they moved.” — George Harrison (I Me Mine)

“Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” is the last song on Bob Dylan’s 1966 album “Blonde on Blonde.” It’s a long song with a long backstory and a long analysis, so have fun reading up on that.

 

With the working title, “It’s Been a Long, Long, Long Time,” the Beatles minus John started recording the number on Oct. 7, 1968. George, Paul, and Ringo recorded fucking 67 takes of the rhythm track. Sometime during this session, the ghastly noise that appears at the end of the track occurred.

“There’s a sound near the end of the song which is a bottle of Blue Nun wine rattling away on top of a Leslie speaker cabinet. It just happened. Paul hit a certain note and the bottle started vibrating. We thought it was so good that we set the mikes up and did it again. The Beatles always took advantage of accidents.” — Chris Thomas (Mark Lewisohn, The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions)

Special thanks to whichever TV Troper described the closing chord as “It sounds like a coffin is closing at a funeral while the widow weeps.” I didn’t need to sleep again. Ever.

The trio continued working on the song the next day, adding more guitar and George’s vocals. Paul added backing vocals the day after that, and Chris Thomas (George Martin’s assistant) added a piano part.

Due to its placement, “Long Long Long” closes the third side of “The Beatles” record.

Richie Unterberger called “Long, Long, Long” one of the most underrated songs in the Beatles’ discography, and Ian MacDonald called it George’s “finest moment” while working with the Beatles. I would disagree with Ian and give “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” the edge, but “Long, Long, Long” is undoubtedly a great song.

 

Sources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long,_Long,_Long

http://www.beatlesbible.com/songs/long-long-long/

http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/DATABASES/AWP/lll.shtml

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blonde_on_Blonde

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sad_Eyed_Lady_of_the_Lowlands

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