Categories
Jazz & Rock Play Along

Play Guitar with The Beatles “Here comes the Sun”

Play Guitar with The Beatles “Here comes the Sun” – Play Along background with sheet music

beatles play guitar sheet music pdf

Here comes the Sun

Here Comes the Sun” is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1969 album Abbey Road. It was written by George Harrison and is one of his best-known compositions for the Beatles. Harrison wrote the song in early 1969 at the country house of his friend Eric Clapton, where Harrison had chosen to play truant for the day to avoid attending a meeting at the Beatles’ Apple Corps organisation.

The lyrics reflect his relief at the arrival of spring and the temporary respite he was experiencing from the band’s business affairs. As of September 2019, it was the most streamed Beatles song on Spotify globally, with over 350 million plays.

The Beatles recorded “Here Comes the Sun” at London’s EMI Studios in the summer of 1969. Led by Harrison’s acoustic guitar, the track features Moog synthesizer, which he had introduced to the band’s sound after acquiring an early model of the instrument in California. Reflecting the continued influence of Indian classical music on Harrison’s writing, the composition includes several time signature changes.

“Here Comes the Sun” has received acclaim from music critics. Combined with his other contribution to Abbey Road, “Something“, it gained for Harrison the level of recognition as a songwriter that had previously been reserved for his bandmates John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Harrison played the song during many of his relatively rare live performances as a solo artist, including at the Concert for Bangladesh in 1971 and, with Paul Simon, during his appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1976. Richie Havens and Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel each had hit singles with “Here Comes the Sun” in the 1970s.

Nina Simone, George Benson, Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Peter Tosh and Joe Brown are among the many other artists who have covered the song.

Composition

Hurt Wood windmill in Ewhurst, Surrey. Harrison wrote “Here Comes the Sun” in the garden at nearby Hurtwood Edge.

The early months of 1969 were a difficult period for Harrison: he had quit the Beatles temporarily, he was arrested for marijuana possession, and he had his tonsils removed. Writing in Oz magazine at the end of the year, Barry Miles commented on the “isolated life” of the individual Beatles, with “George strangely upset by his bust, uncertain about his friends but singing Hare Krishna.”

Harrison wrote “Here Comes the Sun” at the house of his friend Eric Clapton, in response to the dark mood surrounding the Beatles. Harrison states in his autobiography, I, Me, Mine:

“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 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”.

Clapton’s house at the time was Hurtwood Edge, in Ewhurst, Surrey, and he later said the month was possibly April. Data from two meteorological stations in the London area show that April 1969 set a record for sunlight hours for the 1960s. The Greenwich station recorded 189 hours for April, a high that was not beaten until 1984. The Greenwich data also show that February and March were much colder than the norm for the 1960s, which would account for Harrison’s reference to a “long, cold, lonely winter”.

Harrison completed the song’s lyrics in June, while on holiday in Sardinia. Former Catholic Herald editor William Oddie describes the lyric as conveying an “almost Chestertonian gratitude for the beauty of creation”.

Musical structure

The song is in the key of A major. The main refrain uses a IV (D chord) to V-of-V (B chord–a secondary dominant) progression (the reverse of that used in “Eight Days a Week” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band“). The melody in the verse and refrain follows the pentatonic scale from E up to C♯ (scale steps 5, 6, 1, 2, 3).

One feature is the increasing syncopation in the vocal parts. Another feature is the guitar flat-picking that embellishes the E7 (V7) chord from 2:03 to 2:11, creating tension for resolution on the tonic A chord at “Little darlin’ “. The bridge involves a ♭III-♭VII-IV-I-V7 triple descending 4th (or Tri-Plagal) progression (with an extra V7) as the vocals move from “Sun” (♭III or C chord) to “sun” (♭VII or G chord) to “sun” (IV or D chord) to “comes” (I or A chord) and the additional 4th descent to a V7 (E7) chord. The lyric here (“Sun, sun, sun, here it comes”) has been described as taking “on the quality of a meditator’s mantra”.

The song features 4/4 (in the verse) and a sequence of 11/8 + 4/4 + 7/8 (which can also be transcribed as 11/8 + 15/8) in the bridge, phrasing interludes that Harrison drew from Indian music influences. In the second verse (0:59–1:13) the Moog synthesizer doubles the solo guitar line and in the third verse the Moog adds a counter melody an octave above. The last four bars (2:54–3:04) juxtapose the guitar break with a repeat of the bridge.

Lyrics

Here comes the sun do, do, do
Here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun do, do, do
Here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun do, do, do
Here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear

Here comes the sun do, do, do
Here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Here comes the sun do, do, do
Here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Songwriters: George Harrison