Winters in England, though not severe, seem to drag on for an eternity. One of the main reasons about 400,000 Brittons emigrate from the UK every year is the endless drag of the cold grey season that can stretch well into May.
If the Eskimos have 400 words for snow, the English have 700 words for “it’s dark and cold.”
1968/9 was an especially painful winter of discontent for George Harrison. He knew that the Beatles were done. Apple records had become a catastrophic black hole that threatened to suck George, and everything else in sight, into its death spiral. The reason George was in a band in the first place was to escape the drudgery of a real job in a real corporation, and the business of trying to keep Apple afloat among the all but dead relationship of its founders was a particularly grueling job for anyone, including Beatle George.
The business of being a Beatle was no fun at all in 1969. It was cold, dreary, and dark. It was a winter in and of itself.
George just wanted these simultaneous winters, both within him and without him, to end. He wanted his moment to shine, without having to worry about two of the greatest songwriters of all time checking over his homework.
Like most musicians I know, all George really wanted to do was play music. One afternoon he escaped from his duties at Apple and took a drive to his best friend’s house in Ewhurst, Surrey. Fortunately his best friend at the time was Eric Clapton, so there was no shortage of guitars to mess about with. In the garden, reflecting on the misery that had been and the thaw he was feeling, Harrison constructed a simple but gorgeous melody. The song is quintessentially Beatlesque without referring directly to any previous Beatle song.
Spring is coming. It will all be OK. I will be OK. This misery is going to end and something new and wonderful will begin.
All four Beatles had agreed that Abbey Road was to be their last project as a group. It’s not really a band album but the best bits from four solo albums glued together with the three spare Beatles supporting the writer of any paticular song. The album does not suffer because of this. The vision of each songwriter is intact and it is a credit to all of them that they did not sabotage the project for the sake of their own vanity.
George Martin, very comfortable in his role as headmaster, made sure there was to be none of the fighting that accompanied the painful “White Album” or “Let It Be” sessions.
The recording began on July 7, 1969, two years to the day after the release of John’s own version of his “It will all be ok” song, “All You Need Is Love.” The production of “Sun,” like “Love,” is happy and relaxed.
Unlike “Love,” though, “Sun” shines with a crystalline clarity that cuts through the performance with waves of joy – musical sunshine. The use of the Moog synth parts are especially tasteful considering what other people were doing with (or to) the instrument at the time.
Paul’s backing vocals on the track, directed by George, sounds like errr… George. Ringo smoothes out all the signature changes making 11/8 time sound like 4/4, which is no mean feat. John is nowhere to be found on the recording — which is no bad thing.
A little more than two weeks later, though, John directed the recording of his own song, which pointedly began with the lyrics “Here comes the sun . . . . KING.” Was John Lennon, of all people, tipping his hat to the now nearly-finished Harrison masterpiece of which he had no part? The songs, after all don’t begin with a similar lyric; they begin with the exact same lyric. John Lennon had started borrowing songwriting tips from George Harrison.
The message in “Here Comes The Sun” is clear, and it was apparently heard by its intended recipients.
Dear John and Paul,
I have had enough of your constant power struggles. I am old enough now to take care of myself. Thanks for everything. Bye.
George had finally – if only for a few years – blossomed as a songwriter par excellence, the two best compositions on Abbey Road were his — and they all knew it.
The ice had melted. Winter was over.
Our version features Holly Palmer. For her the song has a very special resonance. When Holly was about seven years of age her Uncle gave her a copy of Sgt. Pepper. Not the 1967 Beatles album but the soundtrack to the much maligned Robert Stigwood/Bee Gees film which was released in 1978.
No matter to Holly.
She immediately became enraptured with the Sandy Farina version of Here Comes The Sun. For the little girl there was no snobbiness surrounding the fact that it was not the original recording. Holly heard beauty and responded to it. The song has stayed with her throughout her life but the meaning of the lyric has changed.
Her vocal that you are listening to now reflects that change. There is a sadness in Holly’s voice that captures the pain of the winter just passed as well as celebrating the spring to come.
Her son Maceo was born on March 13, 2009. After an ideal pregnancy, and a short labor, he was born with no breath in his body.
He was limp, grey and silent.
She was told that at some point in the few days prior to delivery, something happened in-utero depriving her baby of oxygen for an undeterminable amount of time. Evidently he recovered enough to be born, but the lack of oxygen left him with a brain injury.
No one knew exactly why or how this came about but Holly and her husband Joe figured that it didn’t matter. What mattered was that life was going to be totally different than it was before and they had better be up to the task ahead.
The next couple of months Maceo, Holly and Joe struggled in the hospital. Most parents come home with their baby a day or so after birth. It took two months of constant care in NICU – Bay 4, Bed 3 for Maceo to be ready to leave.
The recording on this site is released May 11th 2010 — exactly one year to the day that Maceo was released from hospital.
Our version is for him and anyone else who is struggling to come home.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Holly Palmer is an American singer-songwriter based in Los Angeles, California. She has released four albums as a solo artist, and has toured and recorded extensively as a vocalist with acts including David Bowie and Gnarls Barkley.
Other musicians with whom she has collaborated include Dr. Dre, Billy Preston, Mark Isham, Dave Navarro and Michael Bublé.
Holly Palmer (1996, Warner Bros. Records)
Tender Hooks (2004, Bombshell Records)
I Confess (2004, Bombshell Records)
Songs for Tuesday (2007, Bombshell Records)
To lean more about Maceo’s story go to
In 1977 NASA tried to license “Here Comes The Sun” so it could be included in a set of recordings to be sent into space on a Voyager mission.
George and the rest of The Beatles were totally into it.
EMI in an act of greed and stupidity refused the license. In the same year EMI let the Sex Pistols leave the label for nothing.
Both signs of EMI’s business acumen and a harbinger of their future success.