The Long and Winding Road was inspired by the B842, a Scottish road that led Paul McCartney to the door of his Scottish pile in Kyntyre and, of course, back into Linda's arms. It is often dismissed as one of the the Beatles songs that Phil Spector ruined post production with over elaborate arrangements. There's also the accusation leveled at John Lennon that he tried to sabotage the recording with his deliberately ham fisted bass playing. I kind of like it when he goes walkabout; it's a nice counter to the song's heavenly ham... Whatever, it's recognized that Macca hated the Spector version, demanding that the harp be removed and the excesses toned down; he was furious, insulted at the intrusion. 'Don't ever do it again' he snapped. He was becoming increasingly isolated; the other Beatles were already being represented by Allen Klein and Paul's requests became ultimatums, which were ultimately ignored...
"The album was finished a year ago, but a few months ago American record producer Phil Spector was called in by Lennon to tidy up some of the tracks. But a few weeks ago, I was sent a re-mixed version of my song 'The Long and Winding Road' with harps, horns, an orchestra, and a women's choir added. No one had asked me what I thought. I couldn't believe it."
His mistreatment effectively led to the the break up of The Beatles.
I'm so used to the strings and choir that the 'Naked' version came as quite a shock. There's a sadness in McCartney's voice that I find effecting, particularly as he hits the bridge.
Here's both versions; the recently remastered Spector take followed by the raw version, which is spoilt a little by what seems to be auto tuning on McCartney's voice in the intro...
Chicken Skin: 1.25
Paul also had a great rawness to his voice when he wanted to.
Here's 'Golden Slumbers'.
Hear the glorious rasp as he bawls "smiles awake you when you rise."
Chicken Skin: 44 seconds