Wednesday, 23 March 2011

12:21: George Harrison Wants Me For A Sunbeam (Here Comes The Sun)

Abbey Road is a dizzying mix of Beatles songwriting, from McCartney's career low point to arguably Harrison's best song. Abbey Road showcases a genuinely happy sounding Harrison devoid of the grumpy hectoring or more-enlightened-than-thou attitude that blights many of his other songs. Here Comes The Sun is a lesson in perfect balance between the verse and chorus on one hand and the bridge on the other.

The verse & chorus have an almost childlike simplicity – the melody is nearly all conjunct, wandering gently up and down a very small part of the major scale (5 notes), sticks closely to chord tones, no blue notes and nearly every phrase starts on the 2nd beat or the and after one. Chord wise the verse progression is

A A D E7

where the bulk of the chorus is

A A D B7

The song is full of lyrical parallels (Ticket 24) and straight repeats. We get the verse 4x (though the first verse is instrumental) and the chorus 5x.

Every line of the verse starts with Little darling, we get Here comes the sun twice in the chorus (by way of a change we get sun, sun, sun, here it comes 5x in the bridge!). Throw in It seems like years since it's been here/clear and it feels like/I feel that and we're dealing with a very limited lyrical palette.

Imagine the song without the bridge. For all it's catchiness and feel good mood it would get tiresome. But the bridge is left of centre enough to keep the song fresh without adding yet another ill fitting medley to Abbey Road (Ticket 5) .

  • The V&C are mainly diatonic but the bridge has some solid out of key moments (C & G the bIII and bVII respectively). 
  • The V&C are in 4/4 but the bridge uses odd time signatures - 3/8 and 5/8 (Ticket 15). 
  • And overall we have a folky V&C compared with an almost prog rock style bridge.

More on Here Comes The Sun next time...

No comments:

Post a comment