I still remember the first time I heard “Long, Long, Long.” No, it was not some life-changing moment that forever altered my state of consciousness. I’ll always remember it because it was one of the most jarring experiences my ears have ever experienced. Immediately following the raucous “Helter Skelter,” I had to turn up the volume to even detect George Harrison gently cooing, “It’s been a long, long, long time,” and no sooner had I relaxed into this tender ballad than I was hit with what my mind knew were drums but my fight-or-flight instincts told me were the world’s loudest machine guns.
“Long, Long, Long” is the first of many songs in Harrison’s career dedicated to a higher power, and while it may lack the catchy hooks of tracks like “My Sweet Lord” and “Fish on the Sand,” his genuine pining for something beyond the here and now gave rock music an ahead-of-its-time awareness for 1968. The only Beatles album it could have ever appeared on is The White Album, and its dynamic chaos is actually perfectly reflective of the album as a whole. That’s summed up perfectly in the song’s final moments, when it goes from somber to frightening thanks to a well-placed bottle of Blue Nun wine. Overall, as beautiful as it is, it’s just rare for me to be in the right state of mind to strongly desire listening to “Long, Long, Long.”