Beatles – Here Comes The Sun

If you want to hear an optimistic song look no further than this one. This is another Beatles song that was not released as a single. Harrison wrote it and  sang lead, played acoustic guitar and used his newly acquired Moog synthesizer on this track. It was one of the first pop songs to feature a Moog.

George wrote “Here Comes The Sun” after he decided to not show up for a scheduled Apple business meeting in early Spring. He wrote this in Eric Clapton’s garden using one of Clapton’s acoustic guitars enjoying a spring day.

Here Comes the Sun was on the Beatles last studio album Abbey Road. The album contained two of George’s best known songs. Something and Here Comes the Sun. This is one of my favorite George songs.

George Harrison: “‘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 and 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.'”

When The Beatles’ music was finally made available for download on iTunes in 2010, “Here Comes The Sun” was the top-selling song the first week.

From Songfacts

“It was just sunny and it was all just the release of that tension that had been building up on me,” Harrison said in a 1969 BBC Radio interview. “It was just a really nice sunny day, and I picked up the guitar, which was the first time I’d played the guitar for a couple of weeks because I’d been so busy. And the first thing that came out was that song. It just came. And I finished it later when I was on holiday in Sardinia.”

In the documentary The Material World, Eric Clapton talked about writing this song with Harrison: “It was one of those beautiful spring mornings. I think it was April, we were just walking around the garden with our guitars. I don’t do that, you know? This is what George brought to the situation. He was just a magical guy… we sat down at the bottom of the garden, looking out, and the sun was shining; it was a beautiful morning, and he began to sing the opening lines and I just watched this thing come to life.”

The music begins on the left channel and gradually moves to the right as Harrison’s vocal begins.

The instrumental break is similar to “Badge,” which Harrison helped Clapton write for his band Cream.

John Lennon did not play on this. Around this time, he was making a habit of not playing on Harrison’s compositions as the two were not on the best of terms. The two eventually settled their differences as George contributed quite a bit to Lennon’s album Imagine two years later. 

The Beatles had stopped touring by the time they recorded this song, so they never played it live. The first time Harrison played it live was at the 1971 Concert for Bangla Desh, which he organized to bring aid to that country. He played it at a handful of appearances in the ’70s and ’80s, but didn’t perform it on a tour until 1991, when he joined Eric Clapton for 12 shows in Japan. This version can be heard on the album Live in Japan.

At the Concert for Bangla Desh, Harrison brought Badfinger lead singer Pete Ham to the front of the stage to sing it with him. Badfinger was signed to The Beatles’ Apple Records and had a hit months earlier with “No Matter What.” Harrison had them play on his first post-Beatles solo album, All Things Must Pass, in 1970, and used them as backing musicians at the concert. The Badfinger story, though, had a tragic ending. As Apple Records disintegrated, the group left the label and ended up in legal wranglings that left them angry and broke. Ham committed suicide in 1975.

In 1976, a cover by Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel was a #10 hit in the UK.

Richie Havens covered this in 1971. The Beatles’ version never charted, but his hit #16 in the US. Havens told DISCoveries magazine in 1994: “Fortunately, I can sing things that changed my mind and gave me articulation, like the songs of The Beatles. What they did was, they presented the language we speak in a very straightforward way. The images were totally clear. The influence of clarity – that was the whole influence of the British Invasion.”

Other popular covers were recorded by Nina Simone and Peter Tosh.

On November 20, 1976, Harrison performed this with Paul Simon on Saturday Night Live. On a previous show, producer Lorne Michaels offered The Beatles $3,000 (union minimum), to show up and perform. He said they could split it up any way they wanted, giving Ringo less if they felt like it. Lennon and McCartney were watching together in New York at the time and almost went. On the show when Harrison performed this, there is a skit where he is arguing with Michaels over the money. Michaels tries to explain that the $3000 was for the whole group, and he would have to accept less.

When Harrison died in 2001, many artists performed this at their concerts as a tribute. It was played at the induction ceremonies of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of the all-star jam.

George Harrison played a guitar solo that was placed at 1:02 into the song, but didn’t make the final cut. Here’s the clip where George Martin and Dhani Harrison listen to it.

Harrison released a follow-up song called “Here Comes The Moon” on his self-titled 1979 album. That song is a tribute to the moon, the “sun’s little brother” that acts like a mirror in the sky, reflecting our light.

In 2006, this was voted by the members of the GeorgeHarrison.com forum as their favorite song of his.

Take That’s Gary Barlow covered this for a 2012 advert for Marks and Spencer. It was the first song he’d recorded as a solo artist since his sophomore album, Twelve Months, Eleven Days in 1999. He said: “It’s a real a privilege to cover such an iconic track. You can’t better perfection but I hope we’ve given it a modern twist that will capture the mood of the nation and provide the perfect anthem for summer 2012.” The song’s exposure on the commercial resulted in the original Beatles recording charting in the UK singles top 75 for the first time.

Paul McCartney was also feeling the pain from Beatles’ business dealings around this time and wrote his own, far more pessimistic, song about it: “You Never Give Me Your Money,” which was also included on Abbey Road.

Tom Petty, who was Harrison’s good friend and played with him in the Traveling Wilburys, said of this song in Rolling Stone: “No piece of music can make you feel better than this. It’s such an optimistic song, with that little bit of ache in it that makes the happiness mean even more.”

At the 2016 Republican National Convention, Ivanka Trump, speaking before her father Donald took the stage, emerged with this song playing. The Harrison estate was not happy and voiced their displeasure on Twitter: “The unauthorized use of #HereComestheSun at the #RNCinCLE is offensive & against the wishes of the George Harrison estate. If it had been Beware Of Darkness, then we MAY have approved it!”

Naya Rivera and Demi Lovato sang this on the 2013 Glee episode “Tina in the Sky with Diamonds.”

Nina Simone’s version was used on the TV series Scandal in the 2015 episode “You Can’t Take Command.”

During the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, many found solace in this song. Some hospitals would play the song when a patient was discharged.

Harrison and Simon on SNL

Here Comes The Sun

Here comes the sun (doo doo doo)
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun (doo doo doo)
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

Here comes the sun (doo doo doo)
Here comes the sun
It’s all right
It’s all right

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

38 thoughts on “Beatles – Here Comes The Sun”

  1. Brilliant song… amazing it wasn’t a single considering how well known it is and how much radio play it’s had through the years. One of the best Beatles tunes period, and certainly right behind “something” in George’s contribution to the band.
    I can relate to what he says… it’s a question of scarcity I guess. There’s a huge difference between Ontario and Texas when it comes to a nice early spring day. Here people don’t even notice, up there, people go wild… girls break out the miniskirts , people go golfing, school attendance drops… even if it’s only 50 degrees after that long winter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yea…you appreciate it a ton more when you are not accustomed to it. After a rough winter even here we appreciate it but not as much as colder places.
      I can’t believe it wasn’t a single.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, man, do I love that song! Back in Germany when took lessons as a young teen, my guitar teacher showed me a beautiful arrangement of “Here Comes the Sun” he had come up with on the acoustic guitar. It was a blend of a classical and a folk arrangement.

    As a Beatles fan, I practiced very hard and at some point could play it quite well. Unfortunately, that’s many moons ago, and I’ve largely forgotten it.

    Anyway, a dose of optimism during these crazy times is more than welcome. BTW, that live version by Paul Simon and George Harrison is beautiful as well. It also happens to be sunny in my area of Central NJ today, so excellent choice all around! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still know the intro…the walk downs are not that easy to do. The timing in this song is all over the place…it’s a complicated little song.

      It’s so fun to play and instantly recognizable. The music really matches the words…you can almost see the sun come out just listening to the music.

      I’m reading a book “And In The End” that Hans recommended. The last days of the Beatles…all the crap they were going through…I see why he wrote this song.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great song, best-selling Beatles track in the UK in the download era and has already outsold some of their official physical singles

    I miss George, and we have him to thank for financing possibly the funniest film ever, The Life Of Brian.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. George seemed like a calming influence whenever I read about him or see him in interviews. He seemed like a great human being and wasn’t caught up in being a rock star.

      George benefited from the breakup more than the others…it’s like he finally got to fly.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is one of my favorite Beatles songs period. To me, it’s always been about the fog of depression lifting. It has always been about hope. It’s a brilliant song. Concise. Subtle. Imaginative. Thoughtful. And, yet, it is somehow intricate. What a beautiful tone Harrison had with both his playing and singing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is when Harrison’s guitar playing really went up considerably. I happen to like this one more than Something.
      Hope…which we all need right now. Thanks for the reply Pam…you summed it up as always perfectly.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Hans. I just told Pam I like this one better than Something…and not a single!
      This would go on that “should have been singles” list.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. With Klein I’m suprised he didn’t cash out more with singles.
        Off Topic: The book is good so far Han…. The first of it I thought oh geez…another Bob Spitz type book…everything we knew but he is getting into some things I never knew now.

        We talked about it being a perfect storm for them to meet each other and play but it was also a perfect storm of things happening at once that really broke them up for good. I forgot about NEMS selling out and still owing a good percentage of them left over from Brian.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. I would have picked Something to be the standard given that Sinatra covered it, but I think Here Comes The Sun has held up really well. Sounds like a contemporary indie folk band in some ways.

        Like

  5. George was a remarkable songwriter. As I’ve said, I think John and Paul treated him like their baby brother and didn’t take him all that seriously as a songwriter, and I think he saved the really good stuff for later. “Here Comes The Sun” is elegantly simple.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is true…they did treat him like that and George Martin did as well. I think he learned frrom the two and when he caught up they they were not expecting it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Max, I’m ecstatic to see you laying out so much good information on Geo’s song. ❤ I had no idea the first time he played it live was at the Bangladesh concert. How he did it, with Ham on the acoustic with him, shows how cherished the song was to him. I love that story about SNL and Lorne Michaels. The version with Geo and Simon is precious. "Here Comes the Sun" is *the* song I turn to at the end of winter to get me energized and I sing it like a prayer when the sun comes out then.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That SNL appearance was the largest rating they ever got til that period and for long after.

      I have to admit Lisa…I like Here Comes the Sun probably more than Something. It’s impossible to be unhappy when that song is playing.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. p.s. I would give anything to have been there when: “we sat down at the bottom of the garden, looking out, and the sun was shining; it was a beautiful morning, and he began to sing the opening lines and I just watched this thing come to life.” One added to my Time Machine Bucket List.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know…I would think Something, Come Together would be more popular with people…this song wasn’t even released as a single.

        Like

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