“Here Comes the Sun” is one of Harrison’s best-known Beatles’ contributions alongside “Something“. The year 1969 was a difficult one for Harrison: he was arrested for marijuana possession, he had his tonsils removed, and he had quit the band temporarily. The song was written while Harrison was away from all of these troubles.
Harrison stated in his autobiography:
“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”.
There is a lost photo from the Anthology 3 of Harrison working on the song, with the capo on the seventh fret.
Harrison, McCartney and 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 the 16th of July. Harrison added an electric guitar run through a Leslie speaker 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 synthesizer part.
Astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan had wanted 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 favoured the idea, EMI refused to release the rights and when the probes were launched in 1977 the song was not included.
“Here Comes the Sun”: Nina Simone
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