Here Comes The Sun

Abbey Road album artworkWritten 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

Available on:
Abbey Road
Love

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.

Abbey Road - The Beatles

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.
George Harrison
Anthology

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.

George Harrison
Anthology

A transitional track on 2006′s Love album combined Here Comes The Sun with Harrison’s song The Inner Light.

In the studio

George Harrison's handwritten lyrics for Here Comes The SunJohn 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.

Guitar solo

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.

34 responses on “Here Comes The Sun

  1. ken

    Ringo’s drumming in this song is excellent! The more that you listen to it, the better it becomes.A ” technical drummer” as the saying goes- couldn’t have done what Ringo did and would have ruined the sound if he tried.

    1. Joseph Brush

      “Badge” for bridge was not years later! As a matter of fact, the song in question was written and recorded for Goodbye Cream in October 1968 which was several months BEFORE Here Comes The Sun was written.

  2. Coffee Shop

    George’s guitar playing on this one is so exceptionally clean it amazes me. I try to play this all the way through as clean as he did and I can never do it. Bravo, George that extra hour was well spent.

    1. Joseph Brush

      I don’t believe Harrison’s handful of great songs at the end of the group equates him with Lennon and McCartney.
      After All Things Must Pass there was a serious decline in songwriting quality from George until Thirty-three and a third in 1976.
      Cloud Nine (1987) and Brainwashed (2002) are excellent pieces of music but it was a long wait before they came along.

      1. mr. Sun king coming together

        Have you listened to his Solo work from 1973-1982? From What I have heard, his songwriting is amazing in the Early 70′s, Especially on Living On The Material World.
        If anyone had a songwriting decline, it was Paul

        1. GniknuS

          I think that with George, you have to enjoy spiritual songs dedicated to God in order to consider him a great songwriter because he didn’t write any “silly love songs” which turns a lot of people off from his music. I don’t like everything he did, but I’ll find a great song here or there in his solo work that John and Paul can’t match, but that’s just me personally.

          1. mr. Sun king coming together

            With Me, I view a song by the melody and lyrics, not what the lyrics mean or secret meanings. I Don’t like George’s spiritual songs dedicated to God, but I respect his abilities, as they great lyrics and nice melody,I just hate who he sings to on those.

        2. Joseph Brush

          I have purchased all of George’s albums or CD’S the day they came out or in the first week that they were available.
          To say the least, there were ups and downs from 1973 to 1982 with George’s albums IMO.
          Living In The Material World had some songs that were too strident in their beliefs for me, but at least it contains a majority of good songs and it was carefully made and recorded.
          Dark Horse,on the other hand was the nadir for me while Gone Troppo was weak and forgettable.
          The other albums (Extra Texture, George Harrison and Somewhere In England) have some good songs but are uneven.
          Thirty three and a third was the best of them after 1973 IMO.

  3. flaillomanz

    Question; What is the copyright info for this song? I’m planning on using a lower quality version (which I brought, hooray itunes)on a youtube video. Youtube is good at removing audio etcetera from videos which violate copyright laws, and I would like to at least refer to these (maybe youtube will not remove the audio as a result??).

    Thanks, in advance. I will continue searching Google while I wait for an answer.

  4. Marianne

    Hi Joe,
    This site is a great resource. I’m writing a paper on ‘Here Comes the Sun’, and I’m finding that this site is telling me more than I ever knew. I didn’t even know that some of the instruments listed were used until I looked here.
    I’m also using a score, transcribed by Tetsuya Fujita, Yuji Hagino, Hajime Kubo, and Goro Sato. The score shows parts for everything but the flutes and clarinets (although it does combine all of the strings into two staves and doesn’t specify them). Is there any place I can find out what parts the flutes and clarinets played in this song?
    Thanks,
    Marianne

  5. DB

    Definitely agree that there is some electric guitar in the song, although I can’t determine the make. Nice rich sound, though, and, as usual with George, less is more is the principle.

  6. Mean_Mr_Mustard

    It thrills me to no end that when The Beatles finally became available on iTunes, “Here comes the sun” was the #1 downloaded song! (As it well should).

  7. ES

    Notice the order he wrote verses make sense (long winter,ice melting, smiles returning), but when recorded he switched verses 2 &3 (long winter, smiles returning, ice melting).

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