Saturday Single No. 371

In just more than twenty minutes, as I write, the sun will move as far south in the sky as it ever does here in the Northern Hemisphere and will begin to slowly move north again. It’s the day of the Southern Solstice – more commonly called here in the northern half of the world the Winter Solstice – and it brings us the shortest bit of daylight of the year.

Here in St. Cloud, that will be eight hours and forty-two minutes of daylight, an amount that will remain the same for the next five days, according to the chart at Timbie.com. On December 27, we will have eight hours and forty-three minutes of daylight, and we will slowly be on our way toward the Northern Solstice next June – the Summer Solstice in these parts – when the sun will be in our skies for fifteen hours and forty-two minutes.

It is, as I believe I wrote here once before, a long corner slowly turned but turned nevertheless. And it happens this morning at the delightful time of 11:11.

That time, of course, turned my mind toward finding a record that was at No. 11 on the date of a Winter Solstice for us to listen to this morning. But which year’s solstice? Well, I leaned toward 1973, because it’s an even forty years ago and because that December’s Winter Solstice – spent in Fredericia, Denmark – brought the least amount of daylight I’ve ever experienced in my lifetime at just about seven hours. (According to Timbie.com, the hours of daylight in Copenhagen – about 120 miles east of Fredericia and thus equal in daylight – bottom out tomorrow at 7:01.)

But Billboard’s No. 11 record on December 21, 1973, was Billy Preston’s “Space Race,” and the No. 11 record on the chart released the next day was Al Wilson’s “Show & Tell.” Both are decent records – I like Wilson’s more than I like Preston’s – but neither of them speaks to me about the solstice.

So we go looking for songs about the sun, and one in particular stands apart: George Harrison’s “Here Comes The Sun.” There are twelve versions of the tune in the EITW files, so I have to make a choice. As it turns out, that’s easy to do. Only one version of the song ever made the Billboard Hot 100, going to No. 16 in the spring of 1971, and it’s by a man whose music I post any chance I get. Pulled from his 1971 album, Alarm Clock, here’s Richie Haven’s live cover of “Here Comes The Sun,” and it’s today’s Saturday Single.

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