Hear The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” With a Re-Discovered George Harrison Solo

George Harrison “never thought he was any good” as a guitarist, says his son Dhani, and so “he focused on touch and control… not hitting any off notes, not making strings buzz, not playing anything that would jar you.” Harrison himself put it this way, in typically self-effacing, mystical fashion: “I play the notes you never hear.” Of course, as most every thoughtful guitar player will tell you, these are exactly the makings of a good—and in Harrison’s case, great—guitarist. A dime a dozen are players who can play speed runs and flashy solos, who have learned every lick from their favorite songs and can re-produce them exactly. But it’s the sensitivity—the personal “touch and control” over the instrument—that matters most, and that can make a player’s tone impossible to duplicate. Harrison’s playing, Dhani says, “is the reason no one can really cover the Beatles faithfully…. At some point there’s going to be a George Harrison solo, and that solo is usually perfect.”

I would certainly say that is the case with the guitar solo in “Here Comes the Sun.” Oh, you’ve never heard it? That’s because the song, as it was originally released on 1969’s Abbey Road didn’t have one. For whatever reason, George Martin decided to leave it out, and the song, we might agree, is perfect without it. But the solo—rediscovered by Martin and Dhani Harrison—is also perfect. You can hear a version of the song with the solo restored at the top of the post, courtesy of Youtube user Kanaal van DutchDounpour. And above, see Dhani, Martin, and Martin’s son Giles rediscovering the solo, which Martin had forgotten about, while playing around with the master tracks of the song in 2012. (The second video first appeared on our site that same year.) At 1:01, the solo suddenly appears. Martin leans in and listens attentively and Dhani says, “It’s totally different to anything I’ve ever heard.” It’s unmistakable Harrison, the “liquid quality” Jayson Greene identified in a Pitchfork appreciation, more evocative of “a zither, a clarinet—something more delicate, nuanced and lyrical than an electric guitar.”

Impossible, I’d say, to duplicate. Even the younger Harrison—perhaps the most faithful interpreter of George’s music—finds himself fudging his father’s solos when covering his songs, playing his own instead. Harrison, says Tom Petty, always had a way of “finding the right thing to play. That was part of the Beatles magic.” He may not be remembered as the most virtuoso of guitarists, he may not have thought much of his own playing, but no one has ever played like him, before or since. See Harrison play an acoustic rendition of “Here Comes the Sun”—sans solo—above at the concert for Bangladesh.

(Note: some readers have pointed out that the solo at the top of the post sounds out of tune. We do not doubt that it is George Harrison’s playing, but it has been edited and possibly even sped up to match the final mastered recording. This is not a professional remix, but only a rough recreation of what the song might have sounded like had the lost solo been included.)

Related Content:

George Harrison in the Spotlight: The Dick Cavett Show (1971)

Watch George Harrison’s Final Interview and Performance (1997)

George Harrison’s Mystical, Fisheye Self-Portraits Taken in India (1966)

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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Comments (19)
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  • Robert says:

    The solos in the two videos are not the same. No way in hell first one is George Harrison playing. It’s terrible and off key.

  • steww says:

    Is this an April fools post put up too soon? As Robert says the solo is so horrible and out of tune.

  • Walter says:

    its a Celtic song………..

  • Howard Haigh says:

    It’s awful! And it probably is George. Come on, we love his song and I’m glad that the pointless and messy solo wasn’t included on the finished mix. It would have ruined it.

  • Josh Jones says:

    The solo has obviously been edited, and maybe sped up a bit as well, which would change the pitch and make it sound slightly out of tune. Also, it’s not really mixed, just sits on top of the song. All of that makes it sound odd, which is to be expected from a user-made Youtube mix I guess. Matter of taste whether you like it or not, but I’m pretty certain this comes from George’s original solo as heard in the clip with Dhani and George Martin below it–although this is not what it would sound like if Martin had mixed it.

  • Rob says:

    the solo does sound jarring in the first video. I think the song is better without it.. On the other hand, the live performance was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes.

    The song is sheer genius.

  • kate vanderpool says:

    criticisms aside – this is so beautiful – brings back memories of that time in my history (many I wish I could have changed because of bad choices) but also brngs back the feelings of the era that I was fortunate enough to live through. Thank you Open Culture for this and everything you do. You are by far one f the absolute best sites ever. I’m so glad I found you.

  • Mike Norman says:

    Yeah, it was very different, but i think it is actually pretty cool. I liked the risk he took, by straying from convention.

  • Fred Schlip says:

    Likely George would have done other takes had he decided an electric solo was needed. Some of his finest guitar work is on Abbey Road.

  • JSintheStates says:

    There is a reason movies are edited, and albums are mixed! When something doesn’t work, you lose it! Trying very hard to re-discover something that was trashed in the first place doesn’t make it good” this should have been left onthe cuttingroom floor!

  • Bill says:

    Perhaps the most underrated guitarist of his era.

    The first mix is not so well done and way too loud, but I like the solo itself and agree that it comes across much better in the George and Dhani video. I guess I’m just too used to the “original” version of the song to like it that much.

    On the other hand, the in your face solo on the album version of “Let it Be” takes that song to a whole new, and in my opinion, much better level than the single.

  • Kelley says:

    I prefer the song without the newly found “lost” guitar, but maybe I’m just a purist when it comes to my favorite song of all time. Thank you, George. I thank you every year on your birthday for this song, and here I am holding up my annual tradition. Thank you. Namaste.

  • Cathy says:

    I loved the solo, I like the song both ways, in fact I think I’ll miss the solo everytime I hear the song now, those notes will play in my head. The solo really evokes the era, it’s beautiful.

  • JoeCorrao says:

    Some of Ringo’s best stuff

  • Jan Rudolf Pettersen says:

    I agree the solo is not perfect. But i gives a wondeful picture of George eminents skills as a guitarist and musician. When he droped this solo he made the right decision. Like his first solo on “Can’t buy me love” from 1964 (EMI made unjustice to George by skipping that terrible first attempt when they made Anthology CD). On an unedited bootleg you can here what an gigantic development George went through in only three takes. This also shows his abolity as a musician.

  • Xavier says:

    This solo is great, reminds Clapton somewhere and probably influenced by…Slightly out of key on the end, or maybe even dissonant, even better!Too bad it wasn’t inserted, the song is beautiful as it is, very positive, but this adds a little extra in the harmony, sounds like picked from an early jam/version of the song…

  • Glern LaPointe says:

    Like this version, with Georges guitar differences. His son says that George never thought of himself as a good Guitar Player. I beg to Differ with you George. Your Guitar was Phenominal, and ill always love the Wonderful Contributions you gave to the Band, and to all of us. As far as this Fan is concerned, you were the Writer of some of the Beatles greatest songs, and so far ahead of the rest of your mates. You have always been my Favorate Beatle.

  • Susan Trout says:

    Oh, how lucky I was to live during Beatlemania. They changed music FOREVER! George Martin was so important to their success, too. He was a marvelous producer! This is wonderful! Thanks to whomever discovered it and shared it.

  • Mean Mr Mustard says:

    Are you starved for clicks?
    This sounds like crap and is certainly not worth dredging up as some lost beautiful moment.

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