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Here Comes The Sun now has a video

A Beatles song that remains a burst of joy even after 50 years

By Mathures Paul

  • Published 5.10.19, 9:45 PM
  • Updated 7.10.19, 12:55 PM
The Beatles in happier times
The Beatles in happier times Picture: Apple Corp

A streak of optimism runs through the George Harrison-composed song Here Comes The Sun. And it took 50 years for the song to receive a video, which it did a few days ago to mark the 50th anniversary of the Beatles album it is featured on — Abbey Road.

Directed by Trunk Animation’s Alasdair Brotherston and Jock Mooney, the video features photos of the group and its members floating around Abbey Road Studios’ Studio Two, where the iconic album was recorded. Photographed by the late Linda McCartney, the images fly past instruments, rising above Ringo Starr’s drum kit to form a golden sun.

But that golden sun came at a bleak moment in its composer’s life. Leaving a harsh winter behind George Harrison was in the middle of many battles — he had his tonsils taken out in February 1969 at the London University Hospital (this was a few years after Ringo had his out), he was pulled up for possessing hashish (the infamous Sergeant Pilcher, known to go after rock stars, raided George and Pattie Harrison’s house on the very day Paul McCartney was getting married to Linda Eastman — March 12, 1969), he got to know that his mother had terminal cancer and, to make things worse, things were not all right on the music business front with the group’s new manager Allen Klein, who is one of the reasons why the Fab Four eventually called it quits.

When one hears the song and hears George saying “It’s all right”, it’s as if he was consoling himself. And console he did at his friend Eric Clapton’s estate, which was a 30-minute drive away. Clapton, who had bought Hurtwood Edge in the 1960s, was in love with the estate, which though was rumored to have been designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the planner of New Delhi, had as architect Robert Bolton.

“When I walked around the garden, I was amazed to find five or six fully grown redwoods there, which I imagined must have been hundreds of years old and planted long before the house was built. A palm tree and poplars also graced the property, giving the whole place a Mediterranean feel,” Clapton writes in his autobiography.

It was here that George wrote Here Comes The Sun. “It was a beautiful spring morning and we were sitting at the top of a big field at the bottom of the garden. We had our guitars and were just strumming away when he started singing ‘de da de de, it’s been a long cold lonely winter,’ and bit by bit he fleshed it out, until it was time for lunch. Other times I used to go over to their place, to play guitar with George or just hang out. I remember them also indulging in a bit of matchmaking, trying to set me up with different pretty ladies. I wasn’t really interested, however, because something else quite unexpected was happening: I was falling in love with Pattie,” Clapton writes.

Later, George told journalist David Wigg: “It was a nice sunny day and I had picked up the guitar, which was the first time I had played the guitar in a couple of weeks because I’ve been so busy. And the first thing that came out was this song.”

Now a classic, the song also marks the absence of a Beatle — John Lennon, who lost control of his car on July 1, 1969, and ended up in a ditch and then at the hospital (but Lennon being Lennon, he found time at Lawson Memorial Hospital to send a cheeky postcard to Beatles publicist Derek Taylor. Signed as Jack McCripple, he claimed he was being “held prisoner” in “Scotcland”). There are rumours that Lennon may have joined for the handclaps in the song but chances of that happening was slim. But what is true is the song had a guitar solo, which was dropped. The unreleased segment is a part of the Martin Scorsese film Living In The Material World.

Enough of story, it’s time to check the video on YouTube.

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