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Here Comes the Sun

It has indeed, little darling, been a long, cold, lonely winter.

The other day I had to drive from Spokane to Cheney for a meeting. The sky was dark gray and it was spitting a mixture of sleet, snow, hail and rain. I crossed under the train tracks, halfway expecting a sign of double contradiction — two trains heading in as I was heading out — but there were no trains at all, of course, which might be a worse fate: the malaise — mixed with the dregs of a long bout of seasonal affective disorder, the winter blues — always winter and never Christmas.

I had Abbey Road on the CD player and so sunk in that state was I that I didn’t even notice the irony as “Here Comes the Sun” came up in the rotation. I listened and murkily mused and roared down the freeway like a speeding vacuole at ten miles over the speed limit, late for my meeting.

Fast forward to later that afternoon, back in my pickup (the malaise-mobile, I could all too often, alas, dub it) for the return trip, Abbey Road still spinning on the CD player. But now the skies have cleared. Hello, blue sky, hello. (Reverse Pink Floyd tangent.) I’m enjoying all the ways the word “yeah” is inflected at the end of “Come Together,” I’m wondering if Maxwell’s silver hammer is a reference to the silver hammer used to tap a probably-dead pope on the noggin to try to wake him up (something I read about in a reference book I reviewed a couple of years ago called The Deaths of the Popes), I’m comparing and contrasting in the backburner of my mind “I Want You (She’s So Heavy”) with the Dylan song expressing a quite similar desire (“I wasn’t born to lose you!”). In short, I’m shucking off the malaise and the residue of mental meeting mucus and soaking up the sun. Vitamin D molecules are suddenly churning out across my nervous system and neurons are starting to fire on all cylinders.

That’s when “Here Comes the Sun” comes back around for the second time and hits me like Salome doing the dance of the seven veils. The opening line, a lovely, simple melody played on acoustic guitar located down by my left foot (resting beside the clutch pedal). Do do do do. Then a psychedelic synthesizer overlays the guitar, still down there by my left foot. Then the synthesizer slides, wonderfully, from the left to the right, indeed like the sun returning in time-lapse, and opens up a new world of sound over on the right side: cellos, violins, Ringo beating out some snare drum — the acoustic guitar all the while staying put in its own lovely world down by my foot, as it will throughout the song. “Here comes the sun.” Matter of fact, simple, lovely, like someone coming out of the winter blues, tentatively hopeful, observing this thing, wonder reawakening, with the first “do do do do” mumbled out as an expression of the tentativeness, followed by the affirmation: “It’s all right.” Then the voice turns its attention to the thou — you, me, the listener, his close companion — addressing us with an epithet of charming intimacy: “Little darling” — and reviews what we’ve been through: “it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter.” Yeah, it has. And then, again: “Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here.” Damn straight. But (and now the voice becomes bolder, declaring: “I say, it’s all right.” Do do do do do do do do do do do do do. Sun, sun, sun, here it comes. (Ringo getting going on the drums now, the acoustic guitar still there, reveling in it all, the on-beat, off-beat clapping of hands.) Sun, sun, sun, here it comes.

By now, I’ve hit repeat two or three times, reveling in the world that is opening up to me here and in the actual sun overhead, and on the third or fourth listen I hear a wonderful little slur: “Little darling, it seels” (yes, seels, the voice gets crossed up and blends “seems” with “feels” to come up with “seels”) “… it seels like years since it’s been clear.” I love that. Yeah, that’s a take. Leave it in. I say, it’s all right.

George H. (may he rest in peace) has always been my favorite Beatle, so I was further gladdened when I looked this up on (where else?) Wikipedia and discovered that it’s his song. Not only that, but he wrote it in Eric Clapton’s garden while playing hooky from a record company meeting he found too tedious to attend. Ha!

But back to the song. So simple and yet so profound, musically, lyrically. A basic song, a fundamental song, a song to go back to again and again, a song that speaks to the rythms of nature and human nature but can also tie into more profound truths about the human condition, the suffering of faith, the coming of Christ, the gospel. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah!

It’s all right.

Comments

  1. Rufus McCain says

    I’m afraid I’ve abused with overuse the lovely word “lovely” in this piece, and probably elsewhere. I’d like to extend an apology to lovely and to all the other words I’ve abused of late. Sorry, lovely.

  2. Quin Finnegan says

    I think I’ll always remember the song in conjunction with Easter 2006, when it came up in rotation then. Just lovely.

  3. Quin Finnegan says

    I’ll always remember the word “lovely” in conjunction with my first teaching job. I was in Japan, at an all-girls junior college, and one of the students came up after class and said to me in fairly broken English, “I’ve heard men who say the word ‘lovely’ are gay.”

    “Wha … huh? Did I say that?!?”

    “Only once. But Mr. Jones says it all the time! He’s gay!”

    “Whew! I mean, er, that doesn’t mean anything, Akiko (or whatever her name was). Lovely is a lovely word. For example, you’re quite lovely … would you care to meet me for a coffee after school?”

    “Oh, I was hoping you would ask, Finny-san! Can I invite some of the other girls?”

    “Yes, of course you can!”

    Okay, I made up that last part. But the first couple of sentences are true.

  4. Rufus McCain says

    We sensitive artistic types are always getting mistaken for gay.

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