Here Comes the Sun
"Here Comes the Sun" is a song written by George Harrison and released on the Beatles' 1969 album Abbey Road. It is one of Harrison's best-known Beatles compositions. The song was written at the country house of his friend Eric Clapton, where Harrison had chosen to play truant for the day, to avoid attending a meeting at the Beatles' Apple Corps organisation. The lyrics reflect the composer's relief at both the arrival of spring and the temporary respite he was experiencing from the band's business affairs.
|"Here Comes the Sun"|
Cover of the song's sheet music
|Song by the Beatles|
|from the album Abbey Road|
|Released||26 September 1969|
|Recorded||7 July – 19 August 1969|
|Studio||EMI Studios, London|
The Beatles recorded "Here Comes the Sun" at London's EMI Studios in the summer of 1969. Led by Harrison's acoustic guitar, the track features Moog synthesizer, which he had introduced to the Beatles' sound after acquiring an early model of the instrument in California, and an electric guitar filtered through a Leslie speaker. Reflecting the continued influence of Indian classical music on Harrison's writing, the composition includes several time signature changes.
"Here Comes the Sun" has received acclaim from music critics. Combined with his other contribution to Abbey Road, "Something", it gained for Harrison the level of recognition as a songwriter that had previously been reserved for his bandmates John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Harrison played the song during many of his relatively rare live performances as a solo artist, including at the Concert for Bangladesh in 1971 and, with Paul Simon, during his appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1976. Richie Havens and Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel each had hit singles with "Here Comes the Sun" in the 1970s.
Harrison states in his autobiography, I, Me, Mine:
"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 autobiography, the house in question, in Ewhurst, Surrey, is known as Hurtwood Edge. When interviewed in the Martin Scorsese documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Clapton said he believed the month was April. Data from two meteorological stations in the London area show that April 1969 set a record for sunlight hours for the 1960s. The Greenwich station recorded 189 hours for April, a high that was not beaten until 1984. The Greenwich data also show that February and March were much colder than the norm for the 1960s, which would account for Harrison's reference to a "long, cold, lonely winter".
The song is in the key of A major. The main refrain uses a IV (D chord) to V-of-V (B chord–a secondary dominant) 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 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 to 2:11, 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) to "sun" (♭VII or G chord) to "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 features 4/4 (in the verse) and a sequence of 11/8 + 4/4 + 7/8 (which can also be transcribed as 11/8 + 15/8) 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 a counter melody an octave above. The last four bars (2:54–3:04) juxtapose the guitar break with a repeat 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 four violas, four cellos, double bass, 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 at that time.
Release and receptionEdit
Abbey Road was released on 26 September 1969 with "Here Comes the Sun" sequenced as the opening track on side two of the LP. Along with "Something", which was issued as a single from the album, the song established Harrison as a composer to match Lennon and McCartney. According to author Alan Clayson, Harrison's two Abbey Road compositions received "the most widespread syndication" of all the tracks on the album, partly through the number of cover versions they attracted. In her contemporary review for Saturday Review magazine, Ellen Sander said that "Here Comes the Sun" was "an awakening, an exaltation of the dawn" and the opener for a collection of songs that represented "the [LP's] sun side, suffused with mellowed warmth, woven together with motifs, bridging, reprises, surprises, with all the songs set within one another". Nine years later, Harrison released "Here Comes the Moon" as a lyrical successor to the song.
In Japan, "Here Comes the Sun" was issued on a single in 1970, as the B-side to McCartney's Abbey Road track "Oh! Darling". While the Beatles never released the track on a single in Britain, new rules implemented to the UK Singles Chart in 2007 allowed any song to enter the charts based on download sales. This allowed several songs recorded by the Beatles to list on the charts when the group's back catalogue became available for download on iTunes in 2010, including "Here Comes the Sun", which peaked at number 58 on 27 November that year. The song also reached number 14 on the US Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart.
Writing for Rolling Stone in 2002, Mikal Gilmore likened "Here Comes the Sun" to the McCartney-written "Let It Be" and Lennon's "Imagine", as Harrison's "graceful anthem of hope amid difficult realities". While expressing regret at having underestimated Harrison as a songwriter, Martin described "Here Comes the Sun" as being "in some ways one of the best songs ever written".
As of 2019 it has become the most streamed Beatles song in the UK with over 50 million plays, way ahead of its nearest rival ("Hey Jude" at 30 million). It is also the most downloaded song from Abbey Road. As part of the fiftieth anniversary re-release of the album in 2019, a music video was produced to accompany a new stereo remix of the song by Giles Martin. Directed by Alasdair Brotherston and Jock Mooney of Trunk Animation, the video features photographs of the individual Beatles by Linda McCartney, animated to float through Abbey Road Studios, and pictures taken from their final photo session at Tittenhurst Park in 1969.
Cultural references and legacyEdit
In 1977, astronomer and science populariser Carl Sagan attempted to have "Here Comes the Sun" included on a disc of music accompanying the Voyager space mission. Titled the Voyager Golden Record, copies of the disc were put on board both spacecraft in the Voyager program in order to provide any entity that recovered them with a representative sample of human civilization. Writing in his book Murmurs of Earth, Sagan recalls that the Beatles favoured the idea, but "[they] did not own the copyright, and the legal status of the piece seemed too murky to risk." When the probes were launched in 1977, the song was not included.
The track has appeared in many critics' lists of the Beatles' best recordings. Among these, the NME placed it at number 4 in the magazine's 2015 list of "the 100 Greatest Beatles Songs". In a similar poll compiled by Mojo in 2006, where the song appeared at number 21, Danny Eccleston described it as "perhaps the best song – outside 'Jerusalem' – that religion can claim credit for", adding: "Those who professed surprise at Harrison's immediate elevation to Most Successful Solo Beatle status [in 1970] clearly weren't listening to this." "Here Comes the Sun" appeared at number 28 on Rolling Stone's 2010 list, where the editors commented: "Along with 'Something,' it gave notice that the Beatles now had three formidable composers." In 1994, when BMI published its US radio airplay figures, "Here Comes the Sun" was listed as having been played more than 2 million times.
"Here Comes the Sun" was played as the entrance music for Ivanka Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention. The George Harrison estate complained about the song being used to support Donald Trump's presidential campaign, saying it was "offensive and against the wishes of the George Harrison estate". The Harrison family later tweeted: "If it had been Beware of Darkness, then we MAY have approved it! #TrumpYourself."
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||58|
|US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard)||14|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Platinum||600,000|
sales+streaming figures based on certification alone
Steve Harley & Cockney RebelEdit
|"Here Comes the Sun"|
|Single by Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel|
|from the album Love's a Prima Donna|
|B-side||"Lay Me Down"|
|Released||30 July 1976|
|Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel singles chronology|
In 1976, "Here Comes the Sun" was covered by the British rock band Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, and released as the lead single from their fifth studio album, Love's a Prima Donna. The lineup on their version was Steve Harley on vocals and guitar, Jim Cregan on lead guitar and backing vocals, Jo Partridge on guitar and backing vocals, George Ford on bass guitar and backing vocals, Duncan Mackay on keyboards, and Stuart Elliott on drums. Additional backing vocals were provided by Yvonne Keeley, John G. Perry and Tony Rivers, while Lindsey Elliott played percussion.
"Here Comes the Sun" was the first cover version that Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel had chosen to record. The song peaked at number 10 on the UK Singles Chart and number 7 in Ireland. It was the band's last top 40 single.
In August 1971, Harrison performed the song at the Concert for Bangladesh, accompanied by Pete Ham of the group Badfinger. He also played it during his appearance on Saturday Night Live in November 1976, as a duet with Paul Simon. A live version from his 1991 Japanese tour with Eric Clapton appears on Harrison's Live in Japan double album.
Booker T. & the M.G.'s included the song on their 1970 Abbey Road tribute album, McLemore Avenue. That same year, "Here Comes the Sun" was covered by Peter Tosh and released as a single, although it was not widely available until its inclusion on Can't Blame the Youth in 2004. We Five released a version on their 1970 album Catch the Wind.
Richie Havens had a US hit with a version that peaked at number 16 the week of 22 May 1971 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Nina Simone recorded "Here Comes the Sun" as the title track to her 1971 covers album.
Sandy Farina covered "Here Comes the Sun" on the Martin-produced soundtrack to the 1978 film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. In 1980, on their album Flaming Schoolgirls, the Runaways recorded "Here Comes the Sun". Dave Edmunds, Debbie Gibson and Raffi sang a live cover version in a Japanese television special aired in 1990. On their 1994 debut album, Who Is, This Is?, ska-punk band Voodoo Glow Skulls recorded a version of the song.
Linda Eder released a version of "Here Comes the Sun" in 2002 on her Gold album. On 29 November that year, Joe Brown performed the song at the Concert for George tribute, which was organised by Clapton and held at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Brown's performance was included on the subsequent live album from the event and in David Leland's concert film.
Naya Rivera and Demi Lovato performed the song, as Santana Lopez and Dani respectively, in Glee's fifth season episode "Tina in the Sky with Diamonds". Their duet version appears on the album Glee Sings the Beatles, released in September 2013. Writing for MTV, Jocelyn Vena commented that the two singers sang "in perfect harmony over a plucky guitar." Idolator also pointed out "their beautiful harmonies" as a highlight.
Paul Simon has often performed "Here Comes the Sun" in concert, as a tribute to Harrison. In September 2014, Simon played the song live on the TBS television show Conan as part of the show's "George Harrison Week" initiative.
- George Harrison – lead and backing vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, harmonium, Moog synthesizer, handclaps
- Paul McCartney – backing vocal, bass, handclaps
- Ringo Starr – drums, handclaps
- Harrison 2002, p. 144.
- Clapton, Eric; Sykes, Christopher Simon (2007). The Autobiography. Arrow Books. p. 112. ISBN 978-00995-05-495. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
- Rowley, David. All Together Now, the ABC of the Beatles songs and albums. Troubador, 2013.
- Pollack, Alan. "Notes on 'Here Comes the Sun'". Retrieved 14 February 2012.
- Everett 1999, p. 258.
- Pedler 2003, p. 10.
- Pedler 2003, pp. 249–50.
- Everett 1999, p. 257.
- Pedler 2003, p. 555.
- Lewisohn 2005, p. 178.
- MacDonald 2005, p. 356.
- Miles 2001, p. 347.
- Lewisohn 2005, p. 180.
- Lewisohn 2005, p. 190.
- Winn 2009, p. 317.
- "The Beatles 'Here Comes The Sun': Lost Solo Discovered". andpop.com. 2012. Archived from the original on 30 January 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- Michaels, Sean (28 March 2012). "New George Harrison guitar solo uncovered". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
- Castleman & Podrazik 1976, p. 81.
- Hertsgaard 1996, pp. 297, 300.
- Woffinden 1981, p. 26.
- Miles 2001, pp. 355–56.
- Clayson 2003, p. 285.
- Sander, Ellen (25 October 1969). "The Beatles: 'Abbey Road'". Saturday Review. p. 69.
- Womack 2014, pp. 385, 690.
- The Editors of Rolling Stone 2002, pp. 38–39.
- Hertsgaard 1996, pp. 299–300.
- "The Beatles' Official Top 40 most streamed songs". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
- "Abbey Road at 50: 13 facts about the Beatles' classic album". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
- Martoccio, Angie (26 September 2019). "The Beatles Unveil Dreamy 'Here Comes the Sun' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
- Fontenot, Robert. "The Beatles Songs: 'Here Comes the Sun' – The history of this classic Beatles song". oldies.about.com. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
- Sagan et al. 1978.
- Klosterman, Chuck (23 May 2016). "Which Rock Star Will Historians of the Future Remember?". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
- "The Beatles 'Here Comes the Sun'". Acclaimed Music. Archived from the original on 28 September 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- Alexander, Phil; et al. (July 2006). "The 101 Greatest Beatles Songs". Mojo. p. 90.
- "100 Greatest Beatles Songs: 28. 'Here Comes the Sun'". rollingstone.com. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- Huntley 2006, p. 245.
- Owen, Paul; Bixby, Scott (23 July 2016). "'The greatest asset Trump has': Ivanka gets rave reviews for Cleveland speech". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
- DeVille, Chris (22 July 2016). "George Harrison Estate Addresses RNC's Use Of 'Here Comes The Sun' To Introduce Ivanka Trump". Stereogum. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
- "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
- "The Beatles – Chart history". Billboard Hot Rock Songs for The Beatles. Retrieved 21 October 2017. Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- "British single certifications – The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 21 June 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Here Comes the Sun in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
- "Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – Love's A Prima Donna at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
- "STEVE HARLEY & COCKNEY REBEL | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
- [dead link]
- Stewart, Tony (24 April 1976). "Harley blows big chance". New Musical Express.
- "The Irish Charts – All there is to know". irishcharts.ie. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
- Schaffner 1978, p. 147.
- Lavezzoli 2006, p. 192.
- Clayson 2003, p. 361.
- Womack 2014, p. 385.
- Jurek, Thom. "Booker T. & the MG's McLemore Avenue". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- "We Five, Catch the Wind". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
- "Richie Havens – Chart history". Billboard charts. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- "Here Comes the Sun – Nina Simone". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- "Earth '90: Children and the Environment B.A.M. Majestic Theater Brooklyn, NY Jun 2, 1990):". concertvault.com. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
- "Voodoo Glow Skulls, "Who Is, This Is?"". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
- Kanis, Jon (December 2012). "I'll See You in My Dreams: Looking Back at the Concert for George". San Diego Troubadour. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Leng 2006, p. 309.
- Inglis 2010, p. 155.
- Ruhlmann, William. "Various Artists A Concert for George [Video]". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Vena, Jocelyn (18 September 2013). "Demi Lovato, Naya Rivera Harmonize On 'Glee' Duet". MTV. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
- Gracie, Bianca (18 September 2013). "Demi Lovato & Naya Rivera Cover The Beatles' 'Here Comes The Sun': Hear The 'Glee' Track". Idolator. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
- Strecker, Erin (24 September 2014). "Paul Simon Performs 'Here Comes The Sun' for George Harrison Week on 'Conan'". billboard.com. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
- Mehr, Bob (January 2012). "He's Going to Graceland". Mojo. p. 122.
- Reed, Ryan (24 September 2014). "Watch Paul Simon Perform the Beatles' 'Here Comes the Sun' on 'Conan'". rollingstone.com. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
- The Beatles (2000). The Beatles Anthology. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. ISBN 0-8118-2684-8.
- Castleman, Harry; Podrazik, Walter J. (1976). All Together Now: The First Complete Beatles Discography 1961–1975. New York, NY: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-25680-8.
- Clayson, Alan (2003). George Harrison. London: Sanctuary. ISBN 1-86074-489-3.
- The Editors of Rolling Stone (2002). Harrison. New York, NY: Rolling Stone Press. ISBN 978-0-7432-3581-5.
- Everett, Walter (1999). The Beatles as Musicians: Revolver Through the Anthology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-512941-5.
- "Here Comes the Sun". Fretbase.com. 2010. Archived from the original on 24 December 2009. Retrieved 7 January 2010.
- Harrison, George (2002) . I, Me, Mine. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0-8118-5900-4.
- Hertsgaard, Mark (1996). A Day in the Life: The Music and Artistry of the Beatles. London: Pan Books. ISBN 0-330-33891-9.
- Huntley, Elliot J. (2006). Mystical One: George Harrison – After the Break-up of the Beatles. Toronto, ON: Guernica Editions. ISBN 978-1-55071-197-4.
- Inglis, Ian (2010). The Words and Music of George Harrison. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger. ISBN 978-0-313-37532-3.
- Lavezzoli, Peter (2006). The Dawn of Indian Music in the West. New York, NY: Continuum. ISBN 0-8264-2819-3.
- Leng, Simon (2006). While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison. Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard. ISBN 978-1-4234-0609-9.
- Lewisohn, Mark (2005) . The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years 1962–1970. London: Bounty Books. ISBN 978-0-7537-2545-0.
- MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). ISBN 1-84413-828-3.
- Miles, Barry (2001). The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-8308-9.
- Pedler, Dominic (2003). The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-7119-8167-6.
- Sagan, Carl; Drake, Frank D.; Lomberg, Jon; Sagan, Linda Salzman; Druyan, Ann; Ferris, Timothy (1978). Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-394-41047-5.
- Schaffner, Nicholas (1978). The Beatles Forever. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-055087-5.
- Winn, John C. (2009). That Magic Feeling: The Beatles' Recorded Legacy, Volume Two, 1966–1970. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-0-307-45239-9.
- Woffinden, Bob (1981). The Beatles Apart. London: Proteus. ISBN 0-906071-89-5.
- Womack, Kenneth (2014). The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0-3133-9171-2.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Abbey Road|