Reader’s Choice: Song #7/250: Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles.

“Here Comes the Sun” was a song that was written by George Harrison. It appeared on The Beatles farewell album, Abbey Road, which was released in 1969. “Here Comes the Sun” was one of two tracks on that album that were written by Harrison *(the other being, “Something”, which you can read about here). With the inclusion of both Harrison songs, he attained a level of respect for his songwriting abilities that he had long craved. Many critics regard his contributions as being the best two songs on the album and that they were on a par with anything ever written by John Lennon or Paul McCartney as Beatles themselves.

Eric Clapton and George Harrison.

“Here Comes the Sun” was written by Harrison one sunny afternoon spent strolling the grounds in Eric Clapton’s garden. The genesis of the song is actually a brief history of the band itself. In the mid-1960s The Beatles were at the very apex of their fame and were changing the way music was being written and listened to. One of the reasons that the innovative nature of their creativity was so strong was that they were free to focus solely on the music they were making. They were unencumbered from the financial goings-on of maintaining their brand because they had a manager who put everything he had into looking after his boys. That man was Brian Epstein. History has shown that Epstein may not have been the shrewdest of wheeler dealers, but, at the time, his presence allowed John and Paul, in particular, to focus on their music. And what glorious music they made! However, the most pivotal event in the history of The Beatles as a band took place when Brian Epstein unexpectedly died. His death created a leadership vacuum on the business side of The Beatles musical empire. That vacuum ended up being filled, at least temporarily, by the members of the band, themselves. From that point onward, whenever the four members of The Beatles gathered to work, they were just as likely to be discussing accounting details with money managers as they were to be discussing new songs. Of the four Beatles, no one despised dealing with business matters more than George Harrison. So, on the day that he wound up in his friend Eric Clapton’s garden, Harrison was actually skipping out on a series of business meetings he was expected to attend at Abbey Road studios.

Brian Epstein.

A second aspect of how “Here Comes the Sun” represents a look into the history of the band is that as The Beatles reached the end of their time together with the recording sessions for Let It Be, Abbey Road and the famous rooftop concert at Abbey Road Studios, George Harrison was beginning to chafe under the yoke of the subordinate role assigned to him by the band’s leaders, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. George Harrison quite literally grew up into adulthood on stage as a Beatle. Now that he was older and wiser and more musically experienced, he had ideas percolating in his brain that he wanted to express. During those final recording sessions as a band, John Lennon was frequently absent (even when he was actually present) which left Paul to fill the leadership void by becoming overly controlling and attempting to dominate the sessions with his own ideas for songs. It became so dysfunctional for a while that George Harrison quit and left the band for several weeks. Stepping away from all of the tension and acrimony gave Harrison the mental headspace to focus on his own ideas for music, as well as his place within the hierarchy of The Beatles. Thus, a song like “Here Comes the Sun” was given the room it needed to be brought to fruition.

The Beatles with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

The final element of Beatles history that can be traced to this song is in how “Here Comes the Sun” embodies Eastern philosophies. As you know, George Harrison and the rest of the band had made a pilgrimage to India and were allowing the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to wash over them. Harrison, more than the others, took the philosophical lessons he was learning to heart. The message of calmness and peace became integrated into the core of his being. Thus, when he suddenly found himself in times of trouble, it wasn’t Mother Mary who whispered words of wisdom, it was the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi that he drew upon. So, as he left the business meetings and tension-filled recording sessions behind, he found himself at the home of his best friend, in a garden filled with sunshine, his mind filled with creative energy that expressed itself in the form of an optimistic song that simply states that the world is a beautiful place and that everything is going to be OK in the end. That’s it. That’s the central message of “Here Comes the Sun”. No matter how rough life may be, it will always turn out OK in the end if your heart is full.

As part of the negotiations that ensued between Harrison and the rest of his bandmates after he quit and left the band, George Harrison demanded that they move the recording sessions from a movie studio (where they were filming a movie as well as recording Let It Be) and return to Abbey Road Studios so they could work in a more music-centric environment. He also demanded that his ideas be given more weight and that he be allowed to contribute material that he had written. The end result was “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun”, the two strongest songs on the final album produced by the best band the world has ever seen. The sad thing about it all is that because The Beatles broke up so soon after Let It Be and Abbey Road were recorded, they never toured together to play these songs live. The only time The Beatles ever performed Harrison’s two musical gems was when they were recorded in-studio. The only time the songs were ever played live were when Harrison performed them as a solo artist or when they were covered and performed by other artists.

“Here Comes the Sun” rough sketch by George Harrison.

Of all of the songs in The Beatles musical canon, most people regard “Here Comes the Sun” as being the most positive, uplifting and life affirming of them all. The song is generally always included in any ranking of the best Beatles songs of all time. Not too shabby for a young man who just wanted everyone to keep making music and for his friends to just get along.

The link to the video for the song “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles can be found here. ***The lyric version can be found here.

The link to the official website for The Beatles can be found here.

***As always, all original content found in this post remains the sole property of the author. No portion of this post may be reblogged, copied or shared in any manner without the express written consent of the author. ©2022

Author: Tom MacInnes

Among the many characters I play: husband, father, son, retired elementary school teacher, writer, Cape Bretoner, lover of hot tea and, above all else, a gentleman. I strive to make a positive difference in the lives of others. In Life, I have chosen to be kind.

9 thoughts on “Reader’s Choice: Song #7/250: Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles.”

    1. I assume you mean Clapton and Harrison? Clapton was a snake, for sure. But, Harrison always forgave him and they stayed friends to the end because of it. As for The Beatles, tough going for awhile but I think their differences were ironed out for the most part in time. It must have been a real pressure cooker toward the end though.

  1. George was my favourite Beatle right from the start. He didn’t need to stand out from the rest, á là John and Paul. He was content to stand back and just play his guitar the best he could. But “Taxman” showed he had real writing talent, and with each Beatles’ album was release I listened to the George tracks before the rest. I was never disappointed. He didn’t need the spotlight, but he made sure he had his corner of the stage.
    His post-break-up album, “All Things Must Pass,” proved his greatness. The track, “The Art of Dying,” is probably the most overlooked song in his canon. His later work with The Travelling Wilburys was a glorifying ending to a great musical and spiritual life. He left the world too early, yet it was not early enough for him. All hail, George Harrison!
    Thank you for this song, Tom, and to whoever requested it. It was a great choice.

    1. Thanks for such a nice comment. I agree with you about the type of person George Harrison appeared to be and the quiet strength he seemed to exude. I always cheer for the underdog so I was always drawn to him and Ringo. Btw, we used to have a cat named Ringo. Anyway, have a great weekend. I will see you and all of my other readers in two weeks. Take care and stay well.

  2. I see that someone has written about Harrison’s and Clapton’s relationship. I read that George gave his blessing on Clapton’s marriage to his ex Pattie Boyd. In fact two months after Clapton-Boyd’s marriage, the newlyweds held a reception for their friends in Clapton’s garden – the same place where Harrison wrote “Here Comes the Sun” and George was in attendance along with Paul and Ringo. So I take it their friendship endured till the end.

    1. All of what you say is true and not in dispute. The only thing I can say about this is that I think George Harrison is an incredible man to have made the changes in his life that he did. I am no expert on the day-to-day nature of his marriage but, I do know from what I have read that he was a kind hearted soul and not vindictive. So, that he realized his marriage was over and wished his friends well going forward is not surprising. On the other hand, I am no fan of Clapton nor what he did or how he has conducted himself in his life since. I think the friendship between Clapton and Harrison was unique and more power to them for looking past certain things and remaining close right up until the end.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: