Alan Aldrigde, The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr en George Harrison Alan Aldrigde, The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics (c) Alan Aldrigde, The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics

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Here Comes the Sun

Composer(s) : Harrison
Year : 1969

Chords/Tabs: Here Comes the Sun

Notes on "Here Comes The Sun" (HCTS)

KEY	A minor

METER	4/4 with 11/8 and 7/8 in the bridge

FORM	Intro -> Refrain -> Verse -> Refrain -> Verse -> Refrain ->
             Bridge (Instrumental) ->
                   Verse -> Refrain -> Refrain -> Outro (w/complete ending)


Style and Form

- Folksy influences on "Here Comes The Sun" are apparent in the series of Verse/Refrain pairs, the prominent role for acoustic guitar, and the generally laid back mood.

- The use of a middle bridge, offbeat metrical patterns and chord choices bespeak several other, dare we say Beatlesque, influences.

Melody and Harmony

- The Verse/Refrain tune is constrained almost exclusively to the pentatonic scale pattern running from E up to C#; i.e. scale steps 5, 6, 1, 2, 3. The danger of melodic monotony is avoided here by varying the chord progression when certain parts of the tune are reiterated; e.g. the title phrase as it appears in the first two lines of the refrain.

- Harmonically the song is based heavily on I, IV (or ii) and V, though a relatively large number of individual chords appear over the course of the song.

- The verse and refrains both make liberal use of the V chord for cadences, but this is balanced out in the bridge by a momentary fixation on chord progressions which make a root move of a 4th downward.


- Primary elements on the backing track are acoustic guitar, synthesizer, bass, and drums, in order of appearance. The synth is used here more to mimic the sound of woodwinds or strings than for its stranger noisemaking capabilities.

- The vocal parts sound as if all sung by George on overdub, with backing vocal parts used here primarily for their "bold font" highlighting effect.

- The arrangement is relatively homogenized though a handful of characteristic details stand out:



- The intro is eight measures long and features a repeat of the following straightforward, harmonically open four-measure phrase:

        ------------------------------- 2X ------------------------------
        |A		|-		|D		|E		|
A:	 I				 IV		 V

- This passage turns out to be identical to what soon emerges as the Verse section, but the stripped down, incomplete exposure of the actual tune avoids giving away too much too soon.


- The refrain is an unusual nine measures in length and parses into two unequal phrases, making a 5 + 4 pattern:

        |A		|-		|D		|B		|
         I				 IV		 V-of-V

                         ***** ***** ***** *****
                         1 2 3 1 2 3 1 2|3 1 2 3 1 2 3 4|
               bassline: D     C#    B     A
        |A		|b6/5  A6/3  b  |  A     E      |A		|
         I		 ii	I    ii	   I     V       I

        |E		|

- The harmonic shape is generally closed, though the section ends off with another V chord leaving it "open," strictly speaking.

- The much Beatles-favored V-of-V to IV progression (check out EDAW and SPLHCB for starters), with its concommitant cross relation, is reversed in this case.

- The second phrase is rhetorically extended by the use of a sophisticated rhythmic trick in which even eighth notes are accented as if triplets against the backbeat. These groups of three 8th notes are sequenced in a manner that (surprise!) rationally "adds up" correctly over the course of two measures, but which in the meanwhile, creates an intense moment of metrical disorientation and syncopated harmony.

The arithmetic basis of this gambit is the fact that (4 * 3) + 4 = 16; the latter equal to the number of eighth notes in two 4/4 measures.

Check out "Good Day Sunshine" and a snippet of "Martha My Dear" for applications of similar tricks. In terms of _Abbey Road_ cross-track resonance, look to both "Because" and "... Money."

- Dig that heavy downward stepwise bassline underlying the syncopated phrase!

- The final measure of the refrain that leads into the bridge is 7/8 long instead of a full 4/4. The 7/8 is parsed as 2 + 2 + 3 so that that final grouping of 3 helps shift metrical gears into the seemingly slower triplet meter used in the first measure of the bridge phrase. See below for more on this gear shifting concept.


- As I said, this is the same as the intro.


- The bridge is built primarily out of a 6-fold repeat of the following three measure phrase which is harmonically open at both ends. Vocals accompany all but the first iteration. The synthesizer takes on a more dominant role in the mix over the course of the final 3 iterations.

        ------------------------- 6X -----------------------
        |C     G     D     D6/3 |A		|E	   |
      flatIII flat VII I         I               V

- The meters of these three measures are 11/8, 4/4, and 7/8, respectively. The special effect of running even 8th notes accented as if triplets against the grain of the underlying backbeat is carried to a point more reminiscent of Stravinsky than of the Beatles. Compared to the refrain section of this song, no attempt is made at all here to make the arithmetic balance out in the end; quite the opposite.

- It breaks down this way:

- George had done something similar with "metrical modulation" back in "I Me Mine," though nothing nearly so complicated as this.

- The final iteration of the bridge phrase foregoes the 7/8 measure in favor of a full four measures in 4/4 on the V chord, nicely building up appropriate desire for the resolution to I that will be provided by the arrival of the final verse.

- Harmonically, this section carries the familiar "Hey Jude" second half modal chord progression one step further, giving us what you might call a "Triple Plagal" cadence that starts yet another perfect fourth around the circle of fourths than the so-called "Double Plagal."

- I can't help thinking that the reason for George repeating this bridge phrase over and over again is because the combination of both wicked rhythm and harmony is just so "cool" that he wants to make sure you don't miss it.


- The last part of the song provides a double barreled variation on the familiar three-times-you're-out gambit.

- The first "barrel" consists of an unusual dual repeat of the refrain followed by the outro proper, which itself is derived from the refrain.

- The second "barrel" consists of the inner structure of the outro proper, whereby you parse the syncopated phrase at the end of the second final as eliding with the outro.

- You also just gotta love the quiet elegance with which the final phrase of the outro both restores the initial instrumentation of the intro while also taking the opportunity at the last second to make an allusion to the bridge; yes, the penultimate measure of the song is in the wobbly 11/8 meter and is over a Plagal IV - I cadence.


- The song is surely George's "Pastoral." Its happy and relaxed mood is a wonderful new point of departure for the composer. It also effectively set a tone of fresh, new beginnings for the second side of the album.

- This is another example in the Beatles catalog where, back in the days of the LP medium, the act of physically turning over the record at such a point used to feel like an uncannily integral part of the listening experience.

- While this this general effect is obviously lost in the era of the CD, I'm particularly disoriented in this specific case by what seems to be a much shorter than usual pause on the CD between the end of the last song on side A and and the start of the first song on side B.

- This can't be an anomaly with my lonesome copy of the compact disc, can it? But while I'm asking questions, I'm curious to know from listeners out there who never experienced this album on LP whether or not the break between the two songs here seems rushed or not?


Alan (

"I don't really know, but it sounded distinguished like, didn't it?"


                Copyright (c) 1999 by Alan W. Pollack
This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

Ook op Abbey Road:

ChordsNotes On
Come Together Come Together
Something Something
Maxwell's Silver Hammer Maxwell's Silver Hammer
Oh! Darling Oh! Darling
Octopus's Garden Octopus's Garden
I Want You (She's So Heavy) I Want You (She's So Heavy)
Here Comes the Sun Here Comes the Sun
Because Because
You Never Give Me Your Money You Never Give Me Your Money
Sun King Sun King
Mean Mr. Mustard Mean Mr. Mustard
Polythene Pam Polythene Pam
She Came in Through the Bathroom Window She Came in Through the Bathroom Window
Golden Slumbers Golden Slumbers
Carry That Weight Carry That Weight
The End The End
Her Majesty Her Majesty

Ook op 1967-1970:

ChordsNotes On
Strawberry Fields Forever Strawberry Fields Forever
Penny Lane Penny Lane
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
With a Little Help from My Friends With a Little Help from My Friends
Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
A Day in the Life A Day in the Life
All You Need Is Love All You Need Is Love
I Am the Walrus I Am the Walrus
Hello Goodbye Hello Goodbye
The Fool on the Hill The Fool on the Hill
Magical Mystery Tour Magical Mystery Tour
Lady Madonna Lady Madonna
Hey Jude Hey Jude
Revolution Revolution
Back in the U.S.S.R. Back in the U.S.S.R.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Get Back Get Back
Don't Let Me Down Don't Let Me Down
The Ballad of John and Yoko The Ballad of John and Yoko
Old Brown Shoe Old Brown Shoe
Here Comes the Sun Here Comes the Sun
Come Together Come Together
Something Something
Octopus's Garden Octopus's Garden
Let It Be Let It Be
Across the Universe Across the Universe
The Long and Winding Road The Long and Winding Road

Ook op Love:

ChordsNotes On
Because Because
Get Back Get Back
Glass Onion Glass Onion
Eleanor Rigby Eleanor Rigby
Julia Julia
I Am the Walrus I Am the Walrus
I Want to Hold Your Hand I Want to Hold Your Hand
Drive My Car / The Word / What You're Doing 
Gnik Nus 
Something Something
Blue Jay Way Blue Jay Way
Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! / I Want You (she's So Heavy) / Helter Skelter 
Help! Help!
Blackbird / Yesterday 
Strawberry Fields Forever Strawberry Fields Forever
Within You Without You / Tomorrow Never Knows 
Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
Octopus's Garden Octopus's Garden
Lady Madonna Lady Madonna
Here Comes the Sun Here Comes the Sun
The Inner Light The Inner Light
Come Together / Dear Prudence 
Cry Baby Cry Cry Baby Cry
Revolution Revolution
Back in the U.S.S.R. Back in the U.S.S.R.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps While My Guitar Gently Weeps
A Day in the Life A Day in the Life
Hey Jude Hey Jude
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
All You Need Is Love All You Need Is Love

(c) 2024 Serge Girard