“Long, Long, Long” is a Beatles’ song from their 1968 “White Album”. George Harrison wrote the song and indeed sang it as well. However, it is still one of the Fab Four’s recordings from what many consider as their best ever studio album.
Release Date: 22nd November, 1968
Recorded: 7th-9th October, 1968
Studio: EMI Studios, London
Genre: Psychedelic folk
Track Duration: 3:04
Record Label: Apple
Songwriter: George Harrison
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Ken Scott
Chris Thomas: piano
Long, Long, Long
George Harrison began writing the song while in India during their stay at the Maharishi’s Ashram. He and the rest of The Beatles were attending Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation course in Rishikesh, India. The visit was fruitful if only for the amount of songs which they began writing there.
“Long, Long, Long” was one of a bundle of songs which would require attention on their return to the UK. It would also see a return to the guitar as the instrument of choice for Harrison after years of studying the sitar, an Indian instrument.
On their self-titled album, this soft ballad actually comes after one of the band’s heaviest rock songs, Helter Skelter. Indeed, the contrast between those two songs couldn’t be any wider.
The song allows George Harrison to show his happiness after reconciling with God again. He explains this further in his autobiography, “I, Me, Mine”, “the ‘you’ in ‘Long Long Long’ is God.”
While this is a Beatles’ recording, John Lennon plays no part in it.
The Beatles began recording the track on the 7th October, 1968, in Studio Two of the EMI Studios, London, during the 2.30pm-7.00am sessions. They recorded 67 takes during this final week of the “White Album” sessions with the last one being suitable for the rhythm track and overdubbing.
Work began on the track again after a nine hour break. Overdubbing included a second vocal and a lead acoustic guitar part from Harrison while Paul McCartney overdubbed his bass guitar piece.
The recording became complete on the 9th of October with a little harmony vocals from Paul McCartney and a piano piece by Chris Thomas.
The ending sound effect came about purely by chance but they decided it was good enough to stay with the song. On one of the Leslie speakers sat a wine bottle that vibrated as Paul McCartney played his keyboard:
“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.”
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn
The eerie clattering sound from the wine bottle was just too good to miss and so they kept it in all other takes. Final mixing took place on the 14th October in order to make Ringo Starr’s drumming more pronounced.