|This article is the featured article for day 28 of the month cycle.|
|Released||26 September 1969|
|Also featured on||Love (album)|
|Recorded||24, 25 and 29 July 1969|
|Abbey Road guide|
You Never Give Me Your Money
Mean Mr. Mustard
|Love (album) guide|
Drive My Car / The Word / What You're Doing
Sun King is a song by The Beatles that appeared on the Abbey Road album. It is the second song of the B-side's climactic medley.
History[edit | edit source]
The working title was "Here Comes the Sun King", but was shortened to "Sun King" to avoid confusion with the song "Here Comes the Sun". The lyrics to start the song are the same as the title and lyrics of "Here Comes the Sun", but with the word "King" inserted afterwards, although George Harrison wrote the latter and "Sun King" is written by John Lennon. Later, the song, in minor key with an organ in the background, breaks into a faux Romance language mixing English, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. The song is in three-part harmony, sung by Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison. At the end of the song, the music stops abruptly and a Ringo Starr drum fill leads into the next track, "Mean Mr. Mustard".
The faux Romance mixing of languages occurs in the last three lines of the song. In 1969, Lennon was interviewed about these lyrics and said,
We just started joking, you know, singing 'quando para mucho.' So we just made up... Paul knew a few Spanish words from school, you know. So we just strung any Spanish words that sounded vaguely like something. And of course we got 'chicka ferdy' in. That's a Liverpool expression. Just like sort of—it doesn't mean anything to me but (childish taunting) 'na-na, na-na-na'.
Paul McCartney recalled that one of the expressions that he meant to include was "Los Paranoias", a name by which he and Lennon would refer to The Beatles. A version of McCartney playing with this theme was released on Anthology 3.
Another noted aspect of the song is its use of cross-channel movement, or stereo panning and fading. The fast guitar line slowly moves from right to left channel and then back. This occurs in the beginning of the song, and then again at the end.
In an interview in 1987, Harrison said that the recording was inspired by Fleetwood Mac's "Albatross". "At the time, 'Albatross' (by Fleetwood Mac) was out, with all the reverb on guitar. So we said, 'Let's be Fleetwood Mac doing Albatross, just to get going.' It never really sounded like Fleetwood Mac... but that was the point of origin."
In 1976, The Bee Gees covered the song for the evanescent musical documentary All This and World War II.
Rough Translation[edit | edit source]
Quando para mucho mi amore de felice corazon.
When for much of my love of happy heart.
Mundo paparazzi mi amore chicka/chica ferdy/verde para sole.
World paparazzi, my love, chicka ferdy (or 'green girl') for the sun.
Cuesto obrigado, tanta mucho, que/cake and eat it, carousel.
This thanks, very much, cake and eat it, carousel. (a merry-go-round or a brand of British chocolate.)
Gnik Nus[edit | edit source]
A portion of the vocals was included as a reversed a cappella in the track titled "Gnik Nus" for the 2006 album Love. An instrumental section of "Sun King" was also used at the end of the track "Octopus's Garden" on the compilation.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Louis XIV of France was also known as the Sun King.
Credits[edit | edit source]
- John Lennon - lead guitar [with Leslie effect] (1965 Epiphone 230TD Casino), maracas, lead vocals
- Paul McCartney - bass (1966 Fender Jazz Bass), tape loops, harmony vocals
- George Harrison - lead guitar [with tremolo] (1968 Fender Rosewood Telecaster), harmony vocals
- Ringo Starr - drums (1968 Ludwig Hollywood Maple), bongos, tambourine
- George Martin - lowery organ (1965 Lowery DSO Heritage Deluxe)
Crickets: Abbey Road Sound Effects Reel Volume 23: Jungle Noises