In 1970, The Beatles get their 20th and last N.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “The Long and Winding Road”

Despite the last single released as a band by The Beatles being know one their most popular songs it was initially offered to a very famous singer who turned it down

In 1970, The Beatles get their 20th and last N.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “The Long and Winding Road”

Written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon–McCartney, “The Long and Winding Road” was The Beatles last single to be released. According to McCartney, the song was written in 1968 during one visit to his property in High Park Farm, near Campbeltown in Scotland, inspired by the sight of a road “stretching up into the hills”, however, the lyrics also intend to have double meaning, due to McCartney’s tensions at the time within the band. Initially, McCartney recorded a demo of the song and offered it to Tom Jones, on the condition that the singer release it as his next single, but the singer was forced to turn it down since his record company were about to issue “Without Love” as a single. The Beatles main recording of the song took place in January 1969, during the sessions of the aborted “Get Back” album, which would become “Let It Be”. The line up for the recording of the song consisted in McCartney on lead vocals and piano, John Lennon on bass guitar, George Harrison on guitar, Ringo Starr on drums, and Beatles guest keyboardist Billy Preston on organ. The recordings remained in stand by during 1969, and The Beatles recorded next what became “Abbey Road”. While preparing the tapes from these sessions for release in April 1970, producer Phil Spector added orchestral and choral overdubs, and this angered McCartney so much to the point that when he made his case in the British High Court for the Beatles’ dissolution, he cited the treatment of “The Long and Winding Road” as one of six reasons for doing so.
“The Long and Winding Road” was first released on the “Let It Be” album on May 8, 1970, and a few days later, on May 11, as a single in the U.S, backed with “For You Blue”. On June 13, 1970, it peaked to No.1 on the U.S singles charts, where it remained for two weeks. It became The Beatles 20th and last number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, an all-time record for number of chart-topping singles on that chart. Since it’s original release, McCartney and The Beatles have released remastered/remixed versions of the song, where the Spector’s orchestral and choral overdubs have been simplified.

Watch a preview of the official 1970 promo film “The Long and Winding Road” by The Beatles taken from the movie “Let It Be

Listen to “The Long and Winding Road” by The Beatles

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