Paul Simon delivered an intimate version of the Beatles‘ “Here Comes the Sun” on Tuesday night as part of Conan‘s “George Harrison Week.” Simon stripped the song down to its bare essentials, playing with the melody and cadence over the tune’s ringing acoustic guitar lines.
The singer-songwriter also sat down with host Conan O’Brien to reflect on his friendship with Harrison, and O’Brien pointed out that Simon and the former Beatle had previously performed the Abbey Road classic on Saturday Night Live in 1976. As Consequence of Sound notes, a clip of said performance is available online (and below); their duo version of the song is stunning, as they harmonize and trade off on lead vocals, followed by a take on the Simon & Garfunkel anthem “Homeward Bound.”
In the below interview segment, O’Brien noted that, during his tenure as a writer on SNL, he had the pleasure of meeting Harrison, which he described as “one of the great moments of my life.” He also mentioned visiting Friar Park, Harrison’s longtime mansion-estate, with Harrison’s son, Dhani.
Simon reflected on visiting the estate, noting it was always a “pleasure to hang out with [Harrison].” “He had lots of ukeleles,” he says. “He loved to play ukelele. So he’d just give you a ukelele and say, ‘Let’s play.’ He had a great jukebox, too, full of all the music he listened to as a kid.”
“When you drive in there, there’s enormous boulders,” Simon continues, reflecting on a hilarious conversation he had with Harrison at Friar Park. “And I said, ‘Is that a sculpture, or is that natural on the property?’ He said, ‘No, they were on the property, but we brought them here and put them in this field over here. And right around that time, Paul McCartney had put out an album called Standing Stone. And George said, ‘But when Ringo came here to visit, when Ringo asked me about the stones, I said to Ringo, ‘Oh yeah, Paul sent that to us as a promo for Standing Stone.'”
Conan‘s “George Harrison Week” kicked off on Monday with Beck tackling a rousing version of All Things Must Pass track “Wah-Wah.” Dhani Harrison will perform on Wednesday, and Norah Jones will close out the four-day tribute on Thursday. The celebration coincides with the release of the newly released box set The Apple Years: 1968-75, which compiles Harrison’s first six solo albums and an array of extras including films and previously unreleased recordings.