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28 June 2023, 10:54
"Here comes the sun, and I say, it's alright."
This is arguably the most feel-good song The Beatles ever wrote, a continual favourite when the summer finally comes around again after the long winter.
It's almost impossible not to feel optimistic listening to 'Here Comes The Sun' - you can tangibly hear the sense of relief about the seasons changing, or the new dawn beginning.
In recent years, the song has even provided solace and hope for people living in dark, difficult times, as there's always the prospect of a new day and a fresh start.
Despite the sheer amount of chart hits and classic tracks that have soundtracked people's lives since they formed, the gorgeous ode to change remains a firm favourite of The Beatles' entire repertoire.
But which of The Beatles wrote 'Here Comes The Sun'? What inspired the song's sunny lyrics? Who else has covered it? Here's all you need to know:
The Beatles - Here Comes The Sun (2019 Mix)
'Here Comes The Sun' is unmistakably a George Harrison composition, and it definitely draws from his spiritual outlook on the world.
George was very much considered the 'mystic' one of The Beatles because of his curiosity and involvement in Eastern forms of spirituality.
Even though he may have come from humble beginnings in Liverpool like his former bandmates John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr, George searched for a greater meaning and depth to his life than the "material world."
'Here Comes The Sun' features several time signatures which were directly influenced by his love for Indian classical music, which he developed after meeting Ravi Shankar during the writing of the 'white album'.
The backstory behind 'Here Comes The Sun' came from a day when George was supposedly playing truant from The Beatles' London offices, in order to avoid a meeting about the band's business affairs.
Since their manager Brian Epstein died in 1967, they began to take a more hands-on approach to their accounting and business dealings which George loathed.
Instead, he spent the day with his good pal Eric Clapton, and retreated to the legendary guitarist's home in Surrey to avoid the "dopey accountants".
It was a particularly difficult time in George's life - his relationship with The Beatles was fractured, having recently quit before rejoining; he was arrested for marijuana possession; he had to have his tonsils removed, and he was living an "isolated life" away from his bandmates.
The lyrics for 'Here Comes The Sun' was inspired by the end of a particularly long winter, and the April sun finally making an appearance as George and Eric walked around the latter's garden with a guitar.
George said in a 1969 interview that: "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."
Eric talked about the moment in Martin Scorsese's 2011 documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World: "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."
Tensions were at an all-time high between George and John, and John wouldn't usually contribute to George's songs which he resented.
When the band went into Abbey Road Studios (known as EMI Studios at the time) to record the song, John was actually involved in a car accident which is the real reason for his not playing on it, despite him and George not being on the best of terms.
They buried the hatchet after The Beatles eventually disbanded however, with George helping John to record his classic solo album Imagine.
Paul Simon & Goerge Harrison- Here Comes The Sun
By the time 'Here Comes The Sun' was released, The Beatles had already ceased to exist as a live performing band - they only played live once after during their iconic rooftop gig.
When the band broke up however, George Harrison would perform the song frequently.
His most notable performances of 'Here Comes The Sun' live are at the Concert For Bangladesh in 1971 - the benefit concert he organised for famine relief in the country - and on Saturday Night Live alongside Paul Simon in 1976.
The only time Harrison ever played the song live on tour was when he joined his friend Eric Clapton for twelve dates in Japan during 1991, which can be heard on their joint album: Live In Japan.
'Here Comes The Sun' was released on the 1969 album Abbey Road, though wasn't released as a single anywhere other than Japan where it was used as the B-Side to 'Oh! Darling'.
Critical reception for the song was high however, with many die-hard fans believing it was an obvious choice to release as a single.
Along with his beautiful, sweeping ballad 'Something', this song saw Harrison recognised as an important songwriter in his own right, where praise was usually directed towards Lennon and McCartney.
As it stands in 2023, 'Here Comes The Sun' is the most streamed songs by The Beatles globally, and has in many ways usurped the rest of their catalogue especially with newer generations discovering the band.
Nina Simone - Here Comes the Sun (Audio)
Countless artists have covered 'Here Comes The Sun', all in their own way offering a new lease of life for the hopeful song.
Here Comes The Sun
"It's a real privilege to cover such an iconic track," he said at the time. "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 exposure from his cover resulted in the original version by The Beatles charting in the UK singles top 75 for the very first time.
Yusuf / Cat Stevens - Here Comes the Sun (Acoustic)