George Harrison always had it hard in The Beatles, persistently overshadowed by the ever-productive songwriting partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The result of that, though, was that when Harrison was afforded the rare opportunity to shine, we saw that the guitarist had just as much to offer as Lennon and McCartney.
One such tune of Harrison’s from the Beatles’ catalogue that has stood the test of time is ‘Here Comes The Sun’, and the opening riff is certainly one of the most memorable moments from anything Harrison put to record. Despite the upbeat nature of the song, the deeper meaning of it perhaps predicts that Harrison knew the end of the Beatles was just around the corner.
Discussing the Abbey Road track, Harrison explained: “‘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.”
He continued: “So one day, I decided I was going to sack off Apple, and I went over to Eric Clapton’s house. The relief of not having to go and 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’.”
Evidently, the mounting pressure of the Beatles as a commercial force and the tensions within the band had all gotten to be a bit much for young Harrison. Thankfully, he had his friend Eric Clapton at hand to provide him with a bit of much-needed solace in the sunshine, even though he knew he would have to return to camp Beatles and some point and work through the accountants’ drudgery.
Interestingly, John Lennon did not feature on ‘Here Comes The Sun’, another sign that it marked the beginning of the end of the Fab Four. Lennon would eventually leave England to move to New York City with Yoko Ono – the place where his life would come to a tragic and untimely end.
John Lennon explained in his final interview that a clairvoyant had explained to him that he would leave to live in America. “I remembered that astrologer in London telling me, ‘One day you’ll live abroad. Not because of taxes,” he told Rolling Stone. “The story was that I left for tax reasons, but I didn’t. I got no benefit, nothing, I screwed up completely, I lost money when I left. So I had no reason to leave England.”
Upon reflection, Lennon realised that Harrison’s song was the real prophetic force, not the London astrologer. Discussing Harrison’s penchant for the sun, Lennon added, “I’m not a person who looks for the sun like a lot of the English who like to get away to the South of France or go to Malta or Spain or Portugal. George was always talking about ‘Let’s all go and live in the sun.’”
“He’s always looking for the sun because he’s still living in England,” he added. “And then it clicked on me, ‘Jesus, that guy predicted I was going to leave England!’ Though at the time he said that to me, I was thinking, ‘Are you kidding?’” So perhaps Harrison ought to have been given a chance to flex his prediction muscles more often.