HA! I got you! You thought I was going to put up the Beatles version, didn’t you?
Well, there’s a reason I didn’t put that first, but I will put it below.
George, I never knew him, but he always struck me as soft and gentle, in the way that men are not supposed to be soft and gentle. And I think it was very hard for him, as it is for so many people in so many bands, not to be overshadowed by the other members. And I am a Beatle girl, until the age of 30 or so, there was no other band I would spend my limited record money on (aside from Wings, because I was desperately in love with Paul). So I love the Beatles version, but George was given so few slots in the band’s catalogue, so let’s begin with him here, and paired with another gentle great, Paul Simon. And BONUS, if you watch all the way through you get “Homeward Bound” too, one of my favorite S&G songs. I had S&G’s greatest hits (still do have it) because I stole it from my brother, so that was his record money, not mine, and I know I that I probably wore out “Homeward Bound” and “America.”
But this is about the great song, “Here Comes the Sun, ” which I have literally had on “Alexa” repeat since Dave took Sophie to school… so a few hours.
What do I like about it?
Well, it’s plinky might be the first thing I would say. It’s got great plinky guitar. I like plinky guitar; I am a big fan of it. Secondly, that plinky guitar acts like an extra voice: it follows the melody through the song, literally singing the main tune right along with George. I remember hearing that the Beatles had conflict over George wanting to (often) have the guitar follow the melody in the songs, as an extra voice. And the story went that Paul didn’t like it. I do not know if that is true, and Paul may be the sometimes most-hated Beatle, but the guy is a hugely successful songwriter, so there’s that. I think the plinky and the guitar acting like a voice works here, and ads to the gentleness of the song.
The second thing I like about “Here Comes the Sun” is that it is understated. If we assume it’s England, where the sun often hides, and it’s been a long cold lonely sunless period, then WOW! the sun is out!!!
But this is “Here comes the sun… do-do-do-do…,” and “…it’s alright.” It’s low-key, low energy, they way an introvert gets excited about things. Harrison was probably an introvert, and I feel that, and I feel that low-key excitement. It’s no less joyful for not being an explosion of confetti and balloons.
I chose this song today because yesterday I took my teen daughter into teen-daughter heaven, what you probably know of as a store called Claire’s. I have had some fun times finding little doo-dads (doo-dads, am I 100 years old?) at Claire’s, but the three or four times I have been there in 2023 I have been assaulted, every single damn time, by the same two songs, one a country western song, and one a pop song, both of which are guilty of crap formulaic song writing and being ear worms. I will not name the atrocities lest they attack you too. I sentence them to exile from the planet. And clearly neither song writer ever listened to George Harrison.
So, I am using George today, to lift my mood in a gentle “I might have a hangover” way, and also because George can be heard over and over and exterminate those earworms without becoming one himself, because George would never do that. George has mad skills. And I love George with ELO, on his own, with The Beatles, and really quite a lot with The Traveling Wilburys, a band that was much too short-lived.
And, on that note, I want to introduce you to another George song that I adore:
“Give Me Love” almost always brings me to the edge of tears, and not because of the lyrics. The music is sweet, and sad, and… oh I dunno. It’s just something.
It’s good to have gentleness in the craziness of life. George gave us gentleness.
Rest well George. Thanks for all the gentle sweetness.