Here Comes the Sun
Pretty much the best commentary on the web about any Beatles song can be found (if they've gotten to it) on the site for The Beatles Complete on Ukulele. Really!
The project is not as fey as it sounds; there is ukulele on every track but this thing is run by some master producers who create excellent soundscapes with terrific musicians. (An example of the production value and overall obsessive nature of the project can be seen in a one-off Obama contribution to Let It Be. Most of the songs are just covers by very talented people who haven't broken big yet.)
To be honest, I'm not crazy about the music from TBCOU -- it's hard to improve on George Martin and the Fab Four -- but each song also comes with a well researched, witty historical essay. The breezy storytelling style can be deceptive but where I've done some fact-checking, the stories hold up.
So here's their interpretive, historical and informative essay about Here Comes the Sun. Well worth reading. A sampling:
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.
Here's George Harrison and Paul Simon performing the song on Saturday Night Life in 1976:
I guess Paul likes the song because 35 years later (and earlier this month), he included it in a set in Seattle (bootleg at Burning Wood).
There are a lot of covers of the song that can be found all over iTunes or YouTube, including versions from Coldplay, Sheryl Crow, Nina Simone, Rob Thomas and Jewel (not a great duet combo), Bon Jovi, etc. But you know what's missing from them? The handclaps! Not the same without the handclaps.
(Some of them do have the Moog organ part that Joseph plays on viola in the third verse. My other favorite part.)
Okay, it's not Here Comes the Sun, but check out this version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps. I love how Prince makes George's son laugh in the middle of his solo (around 4:40). And Prince even cracks a smile himself! Is there anything better than watching a performer enjoying him or herself in the middle of a performance? When you watch our videos, aren't you drawn to particular singers who just look happy to be there? Wouldn't it be great to be able to smile like that while singing and playing? I'll try if you try.
Anyway, here's Prince, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynn, Dhani Harrison and Steve Winwood:
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Jack Cheng directs the Clemente Course in Dorchester, excavates in the Middle East, and writes in Waban, MA.