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Song Stories

“The Long and Winding Road”

The Beatles | 1970

Appearing on the Beatles’ valedictory Let It Be album, “The Long and Winding Road” can be taken as Paul McCartney’s graceful wave goodbye or, perhaps, as a requiem for the death of the band: “You left me standing here a long, long time ago.” Recorded in the days following their final performance, on the Apple Records rooftop in 1969 -- Ringo Starr was on hiatus; John Lennon have given his notice -- the lyrical acrimony became some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy when producer Phil Spector remixed it, adding strings and a choir, much to McCartney’s dismay. “It’s a sad song because it’s all about the unattainable,” McCartney said. “I was a bit flipped out and tripped out at the time.”

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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