Here Comes the Sun
|"Here Comes the Sun"|
|Song by The Beatles from the album Abbey Road|
|Released||26 September 1969|
|Recorded||7 July – 19 August 1969|
|Abbey Road track listing|
"Here Comes the Sun" is one of Harrison's best-known Beatles contributions alongside "Something" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". The year 1969 was a difficult one for Harrison: he was arrested for marijuana possession, he had his tonsils removed, and he had quit the band temporarily.
Harrison stated in his autobiography:
"Here Comes the Sun" was written at the time when Apple was getting like school, where we had to go and be businessmen: 'Sign this' and 'sign that'. Anyway, it seems as if winter in England goes on forever, by the time spring comes you really deserve it. So one day I decided I was going to sag off Apple and I went over to Eric Clapton's house. The relief of not having to go see all those dopey accountants was wonderful, and I walked around the garden with one of Eric's acoustic guitars and wrote "Here Comes the Sun".
As Clapton states in his own autobiography, the house in question is known as 'Hurtwood'.
The song is in A chromatic-minor with an A tonic major chord. The refrain uses an IV (D chord) to V of V (E chord) progression (the reverse of that used in "Eight Days a Week" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"). The melody in the verse and refrain basically follows the pentatonic scale from E up to C♯ (scale steps 5, 6, 1, 2, 3).
One feature is the increasing syncopation in the vocal parts. Another feature is the guitar flat-picking that embellishes the E7 (V7) chord from 2.03-2.11 secs, creating tension for resolution on the tonic A chord at "Little darlin'". The bridge involves a ♭III-♭VII-IV-I-V7 triple descending 4th (or Tri-Plagal) progression (with an extra V7) as the vocals move from "Sun" (♭III or C chord) "sun" (♭VII or G chord) "sun" (IV or D chord) to "comes" (I or A chord) and the additional 4th descent to a V7 (E7) chord. The lyric here ("Sun, sun, sun , here it comes") has been described as taking "on the quality of a meditator's mantra."  The song also features extreme 4/4 (in the verse) and 7/8 with 11/8 (in the bridge) phrasing interludes which Harrison drew from Indian music influences. In the second verse (0.59-1.13) the Moog synthesizer doubles the solo guitar line and in the third verse the Moog adds an obligato line an octave above. The last four bars (2.54-3.04) justaxpose the guitar break with a rehearing of the bridge.
Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr recorded the rhythm track in 13 takes on 7 July 1969. John Lennon did not contribute to the song as he was recovering from a car crash. Towards the end of the session Harrison spent an hour re-recording his acoustic guitar part. He capoed his guitar on the 7th fret, resulting in the final key of A major (in fact, slightly above A major due to the track being varispeeded by less than a semitone). He also used the same technique on his 1965 song "If I Needed Someone," which shares a similar melodic pattern. The following day he taped his lead vocals, and he and McCartney recorded their backing vocals twice to give a fuller sound.
A harmonium and handclaps were added on 16 July. Harrison added an electric guitar run through a Leslie speaker on 6 August, and the orchestral parts (George Martin's score for two piccolos, two flutes, two alto flutes and two clarinets) were added on 15 August. "Here Comes the Sun" was completed four days later with the addition of Harrison's Moog synthesizer part.
The master tapes reveal that Harrison recorded a guitar solo that was not included in the final mix.
Astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan had wanted the song to be included on the Voyager Golden Record, copies of which were attached to both spacecraft of the Voyager program to provide any entity that recovered them a representative sample of human civilization. Although The Beatles favoured the idea, EMI refused to release the rights and when the probes were launched in 1977 the song was not included.
- George Harrison – lead and backing vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, synthesizer, handclaps
- Paul McCartney – backing vocal, bass, handclaps
- Ringo Starr – drums, handclaps
- Uncredited – four violas, four cellos, double bass, two piccolos, two flutes, two alto flutes, two clarinets
The song was covered by Peter Tosh in 1970 and released as a single, though was not widely available until its inclusion on Can't Blame The Youth in 2004. American folk singer Richie Havens saw his 1971 version reach number 16 in the US. The most successful UK cover was by Steve Harley, who reached number 10 with the song in 1976. Swedish metal band Ghost also featured a cover on the Japanese edition of their 2010 debut album Opus Eponymous. We Five released a version on their 1970 album, Catch the Wind. Nina Simone recorded "Here Comes the Sun" as the title track to her 1971 cover album. In 2012, Gary Barlow recorded a version to be used in an advertising campaign for the British retail firm Marks & Spencer, later making his album Sing.
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