The break-up of The Beatles inevitably resulted in the silver lining of some stellar solo material. Whilst the glory days of the eponymous four-piece may have proved that the parts were not greater than their sum, who could begrudge Ringo his ‘Back off Boogaloo’ day in the sun.
Their former Promethean feat may have proved impossible to recapture, but aside from the fact that their solo careers offered up some truly brilliant tracks, it also had the added benefit of adding depth to the band’s back catalogue by proxy. When the dust had settled on the sadness of the break-up, there was fevered anticipation to see which way each of the Fab Four would go.
Within this melee of excitement, the direction of George Harrison, the quiet Beatle, remained the most enigmatic. Ringo was always going to be fun (he simply had no choice in the matter), Paul McCartney was likely to stay poppy and personable, while it seemed inevitable that John Lennon would stray towards darker material. Harrison, on the other hand, remained a mystery.
What furthered the solo excitement was the notion of what the ex-bandmates thought of each other’s new material. Comments from Lennon were pretty easy to come by, but when McCartney answered a fan’s question regarding his favourite George Harrison track, the answer came as a bit of a revelation.
“(Sic) Hello Sir Paul! I love your music!” a fan began on Reddit, “If I may ask, what’s your favourite song of George Harrison?” To which the rockstar, who was promoting his latest triumph, McCartney III, replied,” ‘Here Comes The Sun’. It is a brilliant song and the kind of song that’s really good in times like these.” Indeed, the sanguine hue in which the track is basked, makes it the perfect slice of hope to assail the lockdown blues.
In Anthology Harrison describes the inception of the track as follows: “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,” he continues, “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 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’.”
Harrison’s song is one of 22 tracks that he wrote for The Beatles, and it features on their 1969 album Abbey Road. ‘Here Comes The Sun’ is the most streamed Beatles track on Spotify globally, with over 350 million streams in the last year alone. It has also received an array of cover versions, including a particularly gorgeous take put forward by Nina Simone.
Whilst the relationship between McCartney and Harrison may not always have been rosy, after the initial tempestuous post-break-up period during which Harrison wrote to young fans and asked them to smash up Paul’s car, they were able to patch things up. Both Beatles had tremendous respect for each other’s solo careers and the friendship endured till the end.