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The song, one of Harrison's best-known Beatles contributions alongside "Something", originated from a songwriting collaboration between Harrison and close friend Eric Clapton called "Badge," recorded by Clapton's group Cream, and featuring an arpeggiated guitar riff that is similar to the one that forms the bridge of "Here Comes the Sun". 1969 was a difficult year for Harrison: he was arrested for marijuana possession, he had his tonsils removed, and he had temporarily quit the band. The song was written while Harrison was away from all of these troubles.
Harrison sang lead vocals and played acoustic guitar, moog, and handclaps. Paul McCartney sang backing vocals, played bass guitar, and handclaps. Ringo Starr played drums and handclaps. John Lennon did not contribute to the song as he was recovering from a recent car crash (he was also absent from George Harrison's "Long, Long, Long"). Uncredited musicians played violas, cellos, double bass, piccolos, flutes, alto flutes, and clarinets.
Harrison capoed his guitar on the 7th fret, resulting the final key of A major. He also used the same technique on his 1965 song "If I Needed Someone," which shares a similar melodic pattern.
Harrison, McCartney and Starr recorded the rhythm track in 13 takes on 7 July 1969. Towards the end of the session Harrison spent an hour re-recording his acoustic guitar part. The following day he taped his lead vocals, and he and McCartney twice recorded their backing vocals twice to give a fuller sound.
A harmonium and handclaps were added on 16 July. Harrison's guitar solo was overdubbed on 6 August, and the orchestral parts were added on 15 August. "Here Comes The Sun" was completed four days later with the addition of Harrison's Moog part.
This song was originally proposed by Carl Sagan to be part of the Voyager Golden Record sent to space in 1977. While the Beatles agreed with this, Sagan was unable to form a definite agreement with Apple Records prior to the spacecraft's launch date.
- Paul McCartney - Backing Vocals,Bass Guitar (1963 Hofner 500/1) and Handclaps
- George Harrison - Lead and Backing Vocals,Acoustic Guitar,(1968 Gibson J-200)Lead Guitar,(1968 Fender Telecaster)Moog Synthesizer,Handclaps
- Ringo Starr - Drums and Handclaps
- Unknown - Four Violas,Four Cellos,Double Bass,Two Piccolos,Two Flutes,Two Alto Flutes and Two Clarinets