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

Beatles – You Never Give Me Your Money—- Songs That Reference Money

This was part of the famous Abbey Road medley that featured parts of songs by the Beatles.

John Lennon usually wrote about what he knew best…himself and and his personal views. Paul would many times write about fantasy…he would write about his significant other at any given time also but this is one of the few songs that he was living through. Unlike John he usually would mask things more.

Allen Klein’s time as manager built-up tensions within the band. Paul wanted Lee Eastman his in-law at the helm but John, George, and Ringo wanted the notrious Allen Klein. Klein managed the Stones for years and at the end Mick and company found out that they inadvertently signed away their songs up until 1969 to him. Paul was right in this case…they should have never gone with Klein but Paul should have picked someone else but his in-laws as a choice. No way were the others going to go with that decision.

The song was about Klein and his attitude. Always telling them how much they were worth but never handing over cash…just money figures on “funny paper.”

This song was the first song in the medley. It is actually 3 short songs into one. “You Never Give Me Your Money, ” “Out of College section,” and the “One Sweet Dream section”

I’ve been asked, what’s so special about the Beatles? The medley on side 2 of Abbey Road is just one of many things.

Paul McCartney: “This was me directly lambasting Allen Klein’s attitude to us,” “no money, just funny paper, all promises and it never works out. It’s basically a song about no faith in the person, that found its way into the medley on ‘Abbey Road.’ John saw the humor in it.”

George Harrison: “We get bits of paper, saying how much is earned and what this and that is, but we never actually get it in pounds, shillings and pence. We’ve all got a big house and a car and an office, but to actually get the money we’ve earned seems impossible.”

 

From Songfacts

This song is about The Beatles’ business problems. When their manager Brian Epstein died in 1967, they were burdened with handling their own finances, which became a source of tension in the band.

This is the first of a medley of songs on Abbey Road, which goes another 15 minutes to “The End.”

By 1969, members of The Beatles had a lot of unfinished song ideas, which they sometimes combined. This contains fragments of four songs put into one.

Regarding the lines, “You never give me your money, you only give me your funny paper,” “Funny Paper” is how The Beatles felt they were paid. They got frustrated when their accountants would tell them how much they were worth “on paper,” without actually telling them how much money they had.

Paul McCartney played this combined with “Carry That Weight” on his 2002 “Back In The US” tour.

You Never Give Me Your Money

You never give me your money
You only give me your funny paper
And in the middle of negotiations
You break down

I never give you my number
I only give you my situation
And in the middle of investigation
I break down

Out of college, money spent
See no future, pay no rent
All the money’s gone, nowhere to go
Any jobber got the sack
Monday morning, turning back
Yellow lorry slow, nowhere to go
But oh, that magic feeling, nowhere to go
Oh, that magic feeling
Nowhere to go, nowhere to go

One sweet dream
Pick up the bags and get in the limousine
Soon we’ll be away from here
Step on the gas and wipe that tear away
One sweet dream came true today
Came true today
Came true today (yes, it did)

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven
All good children go to Heaven

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven
All good children go to Heaven

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven
All good children go to Heaven

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven
All good children go to Heaven

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven
All good children go to Heaven

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven
All good children go to Heaven

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven
All good children go to Heaven

 

 

Beatles – Something

This was released as a double A-side single with “Come Together.” It was the only song written by George Harrison released as a single by The Beatles. They had used some of his songs as B-sides, including “The Inner Light” and “Old Brown Shoe.”

The song was written about his then-wife Pattie Boyd. This song moved his songwriting abilities up… in the eyes of his bandmates Lennon and McCartney. George had written some very good songs before like Taxman, If I Needed Someone, and While My Guitar Gently Weeps but this one…this one placed him in another league. George had two of the highlights on the album wth Something and Here Comes The Sun.

Harrison wrote this during a break while they were working on The White Album. It was not recorded in time for the album, so Harrison gave this to Joe Cocker, but Cocker didn’t release it until after The Beatles did.

When I  saw Paul McCartney in 2014 he played this as a tribute to George Harrison. He played a version of this using a ukulele George had given him…and it made it really special.

Frank Sinatra called this “”the greatest love song of the past 50 years”.” He often performed it in the ’70s, at one point wrongly attributing it to Lennon and McCartney rather than Harrison.

With at least 200 cover versions on record, this is the second-most-covered Beatles song; only “Yesterday” has been covered more.

Harrison chastised McCartney for being too active with his bass lines in this song. In the past, Paul had sometimes been critical of George’s guitar playing on his songs. I have to say though…Paul did a great job on this song…his bass playing compliments the song.

From Songfacts

Pattie did inspire “Layla” when Eric Clapton realized he loved her a few years later. She and Clapton were married from 1979-1988 (he also wrote “Wonderful Tonight” for her).

In her 2007 book Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me, Pattie Boyd wrote: “George wrote a song called ‘Something.’ He told me in a matter-of-fact way that he had written it for me. I thought it was beautiful and it turned out to be the most successful song he ever wrote, with more than 150 cover versions. George’s favorite version was the one by James Brown. Mine was the one by George Harrison, which he played to me in our kitchen. But, in fact, by then our relationship was in trouble. Since a trip to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in India in 1968, George had become obsessive about meditation. He was also sometimes withdrawn and depressed.”

Harrison came up with the title and the first line after listening to a James Taylor song called “Something In The Way She Moves.” Taylor was signed to Apple Records (The Beatles’ label) at the time.

This is the only song on the Beatles 1 album that was not a #1 hit on its own in the US or UK. “Something” and “Come Together” spent one week at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart when the compilers of the chart changed its ranking method and stopped giving separate rankings for the two sides of a single. It was also gave Harrison representation among the 27 tracks. 

Harrison had the first line, “Something in the way she moves,” but had trouble coming up with the second. He considered “attracts me like a pomegranate,” before coming up with “attracts me like no other lover.”

This was used in a commercial for Chrysler cars in 1987.

John Lennon said that this was his favorite song on Abbey Road.

Harrison wrote this on a piano. The Beatles often composed and recorded separately at this time.

Harrison pictured Ray Charles on vocals when he wrote this. Charles did eventually cover it.

With 21 string players used in overdubs, this ended up being one of the most orchestral Beatles songs. This sound made it a staple of light rock radio and, in bowdlerized instrumental form, Muzak.

Before this was edited down, it contained a long instrumental tag at the end. 

Dave Grohl, a former member of Nirvana and leader of The Foo Fighters, recorded a tribute song to Harrison on the Foo’s first album called “Oh, George” based on the guitar lead to this. Harrison was Grohl’s favorite Beatle, and this was one of the first leads he learned to play on guitar.

Jeff Lynne, Joe Walsh and Dhani Harrison performed this song on the CBS special The Beatles: The Night That Changed America. The show featured Grammy-winning performers covering Beatles songs; it aired on February 9, 2014 – the 50th anniversary of the group’s first Ed Sullivan Show appearance.

Something

Something in the way she moves
Attracts me like no other lover
Something in the way she woos me
I don’t want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

Somewhere in her smile she knows
That I don’t need no other lover
Something in her style that shows me
I don’t want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

You’re asking me will my love grow
I don’t know, I don’t know
You stick around and it may show
I don’t know, I don’t know

Something in the way she knows
And all I have to do is think of her
Something in the things she shows me
I don’t want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

 

Beatles – Polythene Pam

This song is on the B side of Abbey Road in the medley right after Mean Mr. Mustard.The song was brought up and recorded on a demo for the White Album. John then brought it up for inclusion on Let It Be. After that he made the statement that he would give it to a “Liverpool Folk Singer.”

John contributed  Sun King, Mean Mr. Mustard, and Polythene Pam to the medley.

The song was about two people… Pat Hodgett, who was a regular attendee at the Cavern Club when The Beatles played in the early 60’s. It was readily known that Pat was in the habit of eating polythene… The Beatles affectionately referred to her as “Polythene Pat”

John remembering the second girl: So this poet took me to his place, and I had a girl and he had one he wanted me to meet. He said she dressed up in polythene, which she did. In polythene bags. She didn’t wear jackboots and kilts – I just sort of elaborated – and no, she didn’t really look like a man. There was nothing much to it. It was kind of perverted sex in a polythene bag. But it provided something to write a song about.”

The poet’s name was Royston Ellis… The girl in the polythene bag could have been Royston’s girlfriend at the time…remembered as Stephanie.

Paul McCartney: “John, being Royston’s friend, went out to dinner with him and got pissed (drunk) and stuff and they ended up back at his apartment with a girl who dressed herself in polythene for John’s amusement, so it was a little kinky scene…She was a real character.”

From Songfacts

Polythene is a British term for polyethylene, a plastic polymer used in containers, insulation, and packaging. Written by John Lennon, this song has a rather strange background, and fortunately, our Beatles expert Pattie Noah has sorted it out.

Lennon sang this in a thick Liverpool accent. Like the other Beatles, his regular singing voice sounded very American because he grew up listening to US artists.

In the line, “She’s the kind of a girl that makes the News Of The World,” The News Of The World is a tabloid newspaper that specializes in risqué news reporting. Pam must have been a wild girl. 

The Beatles recorded this as one song with “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window.”

Originally intended for The White Album, this was used in a suite of songs at the end of Abbey Road.

Polythene Pam

Well, you should see Polythene Pam
She’s so good-looking but she looks like a man
Well, you should see her in drag dressed in her polythene bag
Yes, you should see Polythene Pam
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Get a dose of her in jackboots and kilt
She’s killer-diller when she’s dressed to the hilt
She’s the kind of a girl that makes the “News of the World”
Yes, you could say she was attractively built
Yeah, yeah, yeah