Sunday, January 18, 2009

HarriSundays: Here Comes the Sun

Not that I need a reminder to give George his due, but I decided that Sundays are now HarriSundays, mainly because I can't not use a pun if one occurs to me. And if I choose to kick off HarriSundays with "Here Comes the Sun," I've made a triple pun! Gads, I'm a loser.

"Here Comes the Sun" was written when George was feeling kind of cranky and moody like I've been a lot lately. He skipped work during the height of Apple Corps madness, when the Beatles were pretending to be businessmen and doing sort of a lousy job, it turned out. Musically, they were in the middle of the miserable Get Back sessions, wherein their vitriol was flaring up right and left, such that almost everyone quit the band temporarily at some point (including George).  So one day George played hooky and went to hang out at Eric Clapton's house, right went spring was beginning to come to Britain. Walking in the garden with his guitar, he wrote this happy little song, probably one of the best he ever wrote, and certainly a standout on Abbey Road.

The guitar riff at the beginning is so iconic that it actually sounds like musical sunshine streaming into a kitchen window. When the Moog comes in, it just seems like exactly the right touch, as if the sun just became a little stronger and more shimmery. There are strings, but they're sort of hanging out in the background and letting George and his guitar do all the singing. (Paul, too, who's doing the harmonies.) When George begins the verse with "Little darling," it sounds much more intimate than his vocals frequently do, as if he's whispering in your ear, "wake up! It's sunny!"And then the bit where it goes into the syncopated triplet figure, first in the guitar and then in the vocals-- it's like the musical equivalent of spinning around in a garden.

I'm writing this watching the snow come down out the window, just looking forward to spring. It's only January 18 and it's already been a long cold lonely winter. Blech. In New England I feel like the radio plays this song a lot more as spring comes. That springtimey happy feeling is just something so universal. "Here Comes the Sun" makes you want to raise up a Maypole and then just skip the dancing to lie around under it, giggling to yourself. Or just singing along. It's almost impossible not to-- as I was playing this my husband started singing "doo doo doo do" from the next room almost without realizing he was doing it.

I think above I talked a lot about the production, but the melody is strong enough that it sounds excellent with simple acoustic backup, as here at the Concert for Bangla Desh. (That's Pete Ham of Badfinger with George.)

"Here Comes the Sun," released in the U.K. side B track 1 of Abbey Road, September 26, 1969; in the U.S. side B track 1 of Abbey Road, October 1, 1969.
I am indebted for all discography information to the tremendous

1 comment:

  1. That's a mini-essay waiting to happen: How many of George's songs did Paul -- despite the pair's deteriorating relationship -- work on, most obviously vocally, and how many did John help on? Were there any? Was it Paul's devotion to the group vs. John's growing apathy, or something about the opposite of love not being hate, but rather absence of feeling?