“Here Comes The Sun” — The Beatles

For the third in our Easter weekend series loosely themed around “new beginnings”, I’ve chosen “Here Comes The Sun”.

This is an unusual song for a number of reasons, not least of which that it isn’t a Lennon/McCartney composition. Songwriting duties on this one were courtesy of the hugely-underrated George Harrison.

And “Here Comes The Sun” wasn’t a fluke. Released on the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album — the one with the band walking across the zebra crossing on the cover — it was accompanied on the album by another George Harrison composition, the exquisitely beautiful “Something”.

“Here Comes The Sun” was written at a time when George Harrison was getting fed up of a particularly long and cold British winter — not unlike the past winter as I write this — and had decided to spend the day with Eric Clapton. As the weather was unexpectedly nice, he spent the day in the garden and felt the sunlight on his skin after many months without it.

For readers outside the UK, “here comes the sun” isn’t an expression we can use very often in the winter…

“Here Comes The Sun” is musically quite complex, but lyrically is quite simple.

That really works because the simplicity makes “Here Comes The Sun” a very delicate and tender song. Any artist will tell you there’s a purity in simplicity that’s much harder to find in a more complex piece.

With simplicity, your work has to stand on its own…unadorned.

Simplicity is a very vulnerable thing to do, whether you’re a songwriter, an artist or a musician. There’s nothing to hide behind. And that’s what makes “Here Comes The Sun” such a beautiful record.

It’s very literal too. There are no complex metaphors here. It’s one man’s story, stated as simply as he knows how…

Little darling, it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say, it’s all right

George Harrison’s voice is the perfect vehicle for this gentle and sensitive song. He was a great guitar player…one of the best, in fact…but he wasn’t an especially powerful singer.

In “Here Comes The Sun”…and indeed in his other album track on “Abbey Road”, “Something”…George Harrison uses his voice to great effect on songs that are gentle, sensitive and delicate. He doesn’t pretend he’s something he’s not.

Lennon and McCartney songs are brilliant compositions…every one of them…written by one of the most successful creative partnerships of all time. But much as I enjoy them, Lennon and McCartney songs are rarely a window to their souls.

Every song George Harrison wrote came from his soul. His songs come from the heart. There’s a piece of him in every one of them.

And maybe that’s our Easter message.

In whatever you do, be yourself.

That takes courage. You might feel vulnerable, uncomfortable, exposed…at first. But there’s an indescribable beauty in discovering who you truly are and sharing that with the world.

Whether or not the world appears to notice or care, you’ll be doing your bit to make the world a better place. Your work will make a difference, however small. And those small differences add up.

George Harrison wrote very few songs that made it to Beatles albums, and even fewer which were released as singles. “Something”, released by the Beatles as a double A-side with “Come Together”, was the only George Harrison composition to achieve that.

However no less a songwriter than John Lennon stated that “Something” was his favourite track from “Abbey Road”. And it remains the Beatles most-covered song, apart from “Yesterday”.

For someone who rarely got a look-in for songwriting duties, George Harrison delivered when it mattered. He wrote some very beautiful songs.

This Easter, on the theme of new beginnings, just remember that even though you might think you’re going through the winter of your life, you never know when summer might just be around the corner.

Every day is a new day, a new opportunity to start again, a fresh chance to become who you were meant to be.

As George Harrison puts it…

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say, it’s all right

Rather than linking to a Beatles performance, the video below is George Harrison on his own, accompanied by Pete Ham. To take on any song with only two acoustic guitars to work with in front of thousands of people takes some guts.

But it proves yet again a point I’ve often made, which is that truly great songs don’t need a full orchestra, a choir and thousands of hours in the studio. If you’re in that game, you’re probably working with material that’s less than great.

Great songs stand by themselves and sound just a beautiful under a range of different treatments, including, as in this case, very simple and unadorned ones.

I hope you enjoy this delicate and astoundingly beautiful song from a much-underrated talent this Easter weekend. It’s George Harrison with his own composition, “Here Comes The Sun”…

If you’ve got this far, thank you for spending a few minutes in the company of one of my favourite songs. The video is below, but if you prefer listening to your music on Spotify, you can find today’s song here…(the Spotify version is by the Beatles, rather than the George Harrison-only live video)

https://open.spotify.com/track/45yEy5WJywhJ3sDI28ajTm

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Without words, it’s just a nice tune. Add words — now you’ve got a song. And songs can change your world. I write about some that changed mine.

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