Written by: Harrison
Recorded: 7, 8, 16 July; 6, 15, 19 August 1969
Producer: George Martin
Engineers: Phil McDonald, Geoff Emerick
Released: 26 September 1969 (UK), 1 October 1969 (US)
George Harrison: vocals, backing vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonium, Moog synthesiser, handclaps
Paul McCartney: backing vocals, bass, handclaps
Ringo Starr: drums, handclaps
Uncredited: four violas, four cellos, double bass, two piccolos, two flutes, two alto flutes, two clarinets
George Harrison’s second song on Abbey Road was written on an acoustic guitar in the garden of Eric Clapton’s house in Ewhurst, Surrey.
Here Comes The Sun expressed Harrison’s relief at being away from the tensions within The Beatles, the troubles with Apple and the various business and legal issues which at the time were overshadowing the group’s creativity.
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.
Harrison’s understated use of a Moog synthesiser was a key feature of Here Comes The Sun. Robert Moog’s then-recent invention was a rarity in the UK at the time, and The Beatles were keen to experiment with its sounds.
I first heard about the Moog synthesiser in America. I had to have mine made specially, because Mr Moog had only just invented it. It was enormous, with hundreds of jackplugs and two keyboards.
But it was one thing having one, and another trying to make it work. There wasn’t an instruction manual, and even if there had been it would probably have been a couple of thousand pages long. I don’t think even Mr Moog knew how to get music out of it; it was more of a technical thing. When you listen to the sounds on songs like Here Comes The Sun, it does do some good things, but they’re all very kind of infant sounds.
A transitional track on 2006′s Love album combined Here Comes The Sun with Harrison’s song The Inner Light.
In the studio
John Lennon didn’t appear on Here Comes The Sun; he was recovering from a car accident at the time of the first sessions, and later on Harrison largely completed the song alone.
The rhythm track was recorded in 13 takes on 7 July 1969. Harrison played acoustic guitar and sang a guide vocal, McCartney played bass, and Starr was on drums. Harrison spent an hour re-recording his acoustic guitar part at the end of the session.
The next day Harrison recorded his lead vocals, and he and McCartney twice recorded their backing vocals. On 16 July handclaps and a harmonium were overdubbed. Here Comes The Sun was then left until 6 August, when Harrison taped more guitar parts alone in Abbey Road’s studio three.
The orchestra – the names of the players undocumented – was recorded on 15 August. The song was completed four days later, when Harrison taped his Moog part.
One of the bonus items on the DVD/Blu-ray release of Martin Scorsese’s 2011 documentary George Harrison: Living In The Material World was a studio scene featuring Dhani Harrison, George Martin and Giles Martin listening to the Here Comes The Sun multi-track tapes.
The tapes revealed a hitherto unheard guitar solo which was left out of the album mix. It is likely that this was recorded by Harrison on 6 August 1969.