Friday, 13 March 2020

Which song broke-up The Beatles?

The B842, Kintyre, Scotland
The recording of The Beatles took a physical and psychological toll on all concerned. By late 1968 the rupture between Paul — desperate to save the musical marriage — and John and George, who wanted out - was irreconcilable .

Personal relations inevitably deteriorated. Most of the animus was directed against McCartney, who, despite his cheery public persona, was deeply affected. He retreated to his remote farm in Scotland to lick his wounds  and - Paul being Paul - write some new material.

The conscious intention was  to write a commercial ballad for a mainstream singer - Paul specifically had Ray Charles in mind. Yet what comes though to the listener is  intensely, if obliquely personal.

'The Long and Winding Road' takes as its central metaphor a road that passes close to High Park Farm and stretches away into the Highlands. At its heart is a melancholic reflection on  breaking down of key relationships his life  - most obviously with his fellow Beatles but also with his ex-fiancee, Jane Asher. It had been Asher, who had encouraged him to buy the farmhouse in 1966.

McCartney's musical instinct proved as sharp as ever - the song became a favourite with crooners and torch singers. What he could not have anticipated was the controversy it would create. It's treatment - or rather mistreatment in McCartney's eyes - would eventually be discussed in the High Court, where it was cited as a key reason as to why he wanted to break up the Beatles.

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