On this day in music history: June 13, 1970 – …

On this day in music history: June 13, 1970 – “The Long And Winding Road” / “For You Blue” by The Beatles hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney/George Harrison, it is the twentieth and final US chart topper for the legendary rock band from Liverpool, UK. The final master version of “Road” is recorded on January 26 and 31, 1969 at Apple Studios in London, the ballad originally features just The Beatles and keyboardist Billy Preston playing on the track. When producer Phil Spector is hired to remix and compile the songs from the January 1969 sessions into a cohesive album, he takes numerous liberties with the raw tapes. Written by Paul (but credited to Lennon and McCartney), “The Long And Winding Road” is subjected to this treatment when Spector overdubs an orchestra and a choir on to the track. The extraneous post production angers McCartney, but is too late to prevent it from being released. In 2003, a remixed version of the song (without Spector’s post production) is released on the album “Let It Be… Naked”. The singles’ B-side “For You Blue”, written by George Harrison is recorded on January 25, 1969 at Apple Studios, with additional overdubs recorded on January 8, 1970 at Olympic Studios in London. The track features John Lennon playing a lap steel guitar. “Blue” receives significant airplay along side “Winding Road” and is given equal billing on the charts. The two songs are the second single to be issued from the album and film “Let It Be” on May 11, 1970, and quickly rise up the chart. Entering the Hot 100 at #35 on May 23, 1970, it will bolt to the top of the chart three weeks later. The last of The Beatles US chart toppers, like the previous single “Let It Be”, Capitol issues some copies of the single in a picture sleeve. Featuring a similar layout and design as the previous single “Let It Be”, “The Long And Winding Road” sleeve uses four different individual photos of the band and black text, against a stark white background. Many of the sleeves develop ring wear or an impression of the 45 even during shipping from the pressing plants. This makes pristine copies of the sleeve without imprint wear a prized and sought after item by Beatles collectors. East coast manufactured sleeves (printed by Queens Litho) featuring a straight cut across both sides, are more common than the rarer west coast made sleeves (printed by Bert-Co), with a thumb notch cut on the “For You Blue” side. Near mint copies of either sleeve often command on the average between $100-150 on the collector’s market. “The Long And Winding Road” / “For You Blue” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.