Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Here Comes the Sun"

"Here Comes the Sun" is a song by George Harrison from The Beatles' 1969 album Abbey Road.


The song, one of Harrison's best-known Beatles contributions alongside "Something", originated from a songwriting collaboration between Harrison and close friend Eric Clapton called "Badge," recorded by Clapton's group Cream, and featuring an arpeggiated guitar riff that is similar to the one that forms the bridge of "Here Comes the Sun". 1969 was a difficult year for Harrison: he was arrested for marijuana possession, he had his tonsils removed, and he had temporarily quit the band. The song was written while Harrison was away from all of these troubles.

Harrison stated in The Beatles Anthology:
“ "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".”


Harrison sang lead vocals and played acoustic guitar and Moog synthesizer. Paul McCartney sang backing vocals and played bass guitar. Ringo Starr played drums, with all three Beatles providing handclaps. John Lennon did not contribute to the song as he was recovering from a recent car crash (he was also absent from George Harrison's "Long, Long, Long"). Unnamed musicians played violas, cellos, double bass, piccolos, flutes, alto flutes, and clarinets.

Harrison capoed his guitar on the 7th fret, resulting the final key of A major. He also used the same technique on his 1965 song "If I Needed Someone," which shares a similar melodic pattern.

Harrison, McCartney and Starr recorded the rhythm track in 13 takes on 7 July, 1969. Towards the end of the session Harrison spent an hour re-recording his acoustic guitar part. 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's guitar solo was overdubbed on 6 August, and the orchestral parts were added on 15 August. "Here Comes The Sun" was completed four days later with the addition of Harrison's Moog part.

Voyager Proposal

Astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan had desired for 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 favored the idea, EMI refused to release the rights and when the probes were launched in 1977 the song was not included.

Cover versions

The song was covered by reggae artist Peter Tosh and released as a hit single; another popular Jamaican version was released in 1971 by singer and producer Rupie Edwards on his Success label. Additionally, American folk singer Richie Havens saw his 1971 version reach #16 in the U.S.

The most successful UK cover was by Steve Harley who reached number 10 in 1976. Singer/pianist/songwriter Nina Simone also recorded the song on an album with the same title: Here Comes the Sun (1971). The German bandleader James Last also made a cover version, taking the style of the song sung by Richie Havens as a basis for a version sung on his Beachparty2 album in 1971. In 2002 Linda Eder covered this song as the first track on her Gold album. It had been recorded on 19 November 2001 - just 10 days before the death of writer George Harrison. A recent cover (instrumental) by Bill Laswell appears on the album OHM Shanti by Asana (2005), and on the album Una Guitarra, Un Sentimiento (2005) by classic Latin guitar master Pedro Guasti. The pop/rock singer Paul Monday (aka Gary Glitter) also recorded the song and issued it as a single in 1969. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have also covered the song.

The song was also performed by George Harrison and Paul Simon in a televised appearance on Saturday Night Live, in 1976.

There is a live cover by Belle and Sebastian recorded in Belfast in 2001 included on their BBC Sessions album released in 2008.

Les Fradkin has an instrumental version on his "While My Guitar Only Plays" CD with Nokie Edwards of The Ventures on 2nd guitar.

Acen sampled the song for the Breakbeat Hardcore track "Close Your Eyes," but copyright issues led to its removal from some releases.

The Punkles did a Punk cover of this song on their fourth Album "For Sale".

Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora also performed the song as a tribute to Harrison after his death.

Lindsey Buckingham performed an acoustic solo guitar version of the song on New Year's Eve, 2001 as a tribute after Harrison's death.

Voodoo Glow Skulls recorded a cover of this song for their album Who Is, This Is?.

Sheryl Crow recorded a version of this song for Jerry Seinfeld's Bee Movie played at the end of the movie and over the end credits.

Brooke White performed the song on American Idol in 2008 during "The Beatles" week (Top 11).

Rockapella recorded the song for their 2002 album Smilin'.

Yo-Yo Ma performs a version along with James Taylor on the album Songs of Joy and Peace released October 10, 2008

Sarah Bettens covered this song as a b-side to her single Stay from her album Scream.

Travis covered Here Comes The Sun as a b-side on their single Flowers In The Window.

George Benson has also covered it.

Coldplay has covered the song live.


* George Harrison: lead and rhythm acoustic guitar; lead and background vocals; Moog Synthesizer and harmonium and handclaps.
* Paul McCartney: bass, backing vocals and handclaps.
* Ringo Starr: drums and handclaps.
* Orchestrated and conducted by George Martin (with George Harrison).

Album: Abbey Road
Released: 26 September, 1969
Recorded: 7 July-19 August, 1969
Genre: Folk rock, Pop rock
Length: 3:05
Label: Apple Records
Writer: George Harrison
Producer: George Martin


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