“Here Comes The Sun” (The Beatles, 1969)/”Here Comes The Sun” (Nina Simone, 1971)

It makes sense to start a new year (and a new decade!) with a song that symbolizes new beginnings.

There’s a reassuring feel to “Here Comes The Sun”, almost as if George Harrison was trying to talk himself out of a dark mood. Turns out, George was indeed trying to improve his mood. He was feeling down about the fractured state of his band, and decided to disappear for a little while to get his head right. This song-arguably my favorite piece of music he ever wrote-was a result of that little mini-vacation.

I wonder if, as he was writing it, George knew that “Here Comes The Sun” would be used as a song of comfort and reassurance for so many others. I’m sure it didn’t cross his mind that “Here Comes The Sun” might be used as a civil rights anthem. But that’s exactly what it became when it fell into the hands of the great Nina Simone. To fully appreciate Nina’s version, it helps to have context. The late ’60s was a time of great tumult in the Black community. MLK’s assassination, Robert Kennedy’s assassination, riots in major cities around the U.S. The dawn of the ’70s offered up a symbolic opportunity to let the dust settle and rise from the ashes.

It’s funny how history can repeat sometimes, eh? If you’re reading this, I hope you have an amazing 2020. I appreciate you.

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