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I was reading some history of Angola and came across this symbol, for which the filename was "White Sun of Angola".
I was unable to find anything that explains its origin with some simple google searches, does anyone know the history of this symbol?
According to FOTW Flags Of The World, the sun symbol appeared in the flag proposed by the National Assembly's Constitutional Commission in 2003. The proposal saw some opposition and never became law. The symbol is:
… a 15-ray yellow sun comprised of three irregular concentric circles. The image is inspired by rock paintings in the desert cave of Tchitundo-Hulu in Namibe Province. The sun symbolizes the historical and cultural identity and the riches of Angola.
The design was submitted by a candidate under the nickname of "Catica", whose proposal was numbered 106. According to the contest regulations, the winner is entitled to a medal and an amount in the local currency equivalent to USD20 000.
Compare it to the suns and circles from the Tchitundo-Hulu rock art:
The symbol appears to be a visual reference to this book on the Angolan civil war by Anatoly Adamishin.
From the final chapter (my emphasis):
It was only in 2002, and only with Savimbi's death - he was killed in a shoot-out with governmental troops - that civil war in Angola came to the end. It lasted more than a quarter of a century, had taken from a half million to one and a half million lives and ravaged a potentially very rich country. The sun over Angola was white, not only from the heat but from human suffering, too.
History of White Americans in Baltimore
The history of White Americans in Baltimore dates back to the 17th century when the first white European colonists came to what is now Maryland and established the Province of Maryland on what was then Native American land. White Americans in Baltimore are Baltimoreans "having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East or North Africa."   Majority white for most of its history, Baltimore no longer had a white majority by the 1970s.  As of the 2010 Census, white Americans are a minority population of Baltimore at 29.6% of the population (Non-Hispanic whites were 28% of the population). White Americans have played a substantial impact on the culture, dialect, ethnic heritage, history, politics, and music of the city. Since the earliest English settlers arrived on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore's white population has been sustained by substantial immigration from all over Europe, particularly Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and Southern Europe, as well as a large out-migration of White Southerners from Appalachia. Numerous white immigrants from Europe and the European diaspora have immigrated to Baltimore from the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Spain, France, Canada, and other countries, particularly during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Smaller numbers of white people have immigrated from Latin America, the Caribbean (particularly Haiti), the Middle East, North Africa, and other non-European regions. Baltimore also has a prominent population of white Jews of European descent, mostly with roots in Central and Eastern Europe. There is a smaller population of white Middle Easterners and white North Africans, most of whom are Arab, Persian, Israeli, or Turkish. The distribution of White Americans in Central and Southeast Baltimore is sometimes called "The White L", while the distribution of African Americans in East and West Baltimore is called "The Black Butterfly." 
In 1899 Ada Blenkhorn was inspired to write the Christian hymn by a phrase used by her nephew. Blenkhorn's nephew was disabled and always wanted his wheelchair pushed down "the sunny side" of the street. The Carter Family learned of the song from A. P. Carter's uncle who was a music teacher, and they recorded the song in Camden, New Jersey in 1928. "Keep on the Sunny Side" became their theme song on the radio in later years. A.P. Carter's tombstone has a gold record of the song embedded in it.  
In later years, the Carter Family treated "Keep on the Sunny Side" as a theme song of sorts. A 1964 album by the Carter Family (with special guest vocalist Johnny Cash) was titled Keep on the Sunny Side, and Cash recorded a version for his 1974 album The Junkie and the Juicehead Minus Me accompanied by June Carter Cash, Johnny Cash's daughter Rosanne Cash and June Carter's daughters Carlene Carter and Rosie Nix Adams. June Carter Cash also recorded a version for her final solo album, Wildwood Flower, released posthumously in 2003.
The Real-Life Story Behind “Lone Survivor”
Laden with weapons and gear, Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell grasped the rope dangling from the rear of the Chinook transport helicopter and descended into the moonless night. Twenty feet down, his boots touched ground in the remote mountains of northeastern Afghanistan near the Pakistani border. As the roar of the helicopter faded to silence, Luttrell and three other Navy SEALs—Lieutenant Michael Murphy and Petty Officers Danny Dietz and Matt Axelson𠅏ound themselves alone in the pitch darkness of a desolate warzone.
The elite four-man team was searching for Ahmad Shah, a militia leader aligned with the Taliban, as part of a mission dubbed Operation Red Wings. Soaked by a cold rain, the quartet hiked for hours through the darkness as they struggled to keep their footings on the steep mountain ridges. After the sun dawned on June 28, 2005, nearly four years into the war in Afghanistan, the mud-caked SEALs burrowed themselves behind rocks, logs and tree stumps on an outcrop overlooking Shah’s suspected location. The 29-year-old Luttrell, a sniper and team medic, concealed himself under a felled tree when he suddenly heard soft footsteps. Looking up, he saw a turbaned man carrying an axe.
The SEALs had been discovered. Not by enemy forces, however, but a local goat herder. Within moments, nearly 100 goats with bells around their necks came jingling over the mountainside with another herder and a teenage boy.
The surprise presented the SEALs with several options—none of them good. Killing unarmed noncombatants would violate acceptable rules of engagement and also likely result in a court-martial. If the SEALs tied up the three and left them behind, they still faced the problem of what to do with the bleating herd without raising suspicions. Dietz, who was in charge of communications, tried to radio headquarters for instructions but could not connect.
Left to make their own decision, the unit released the unarmed men, knowing it was very possible that the herders would inform the Taliban forces. It was a decision Luttrell “knew could sign our death warrant.”
Matthew G. Axelson, Daniel R. Healy, James Suh, Marcus Luttrell, Eric S. Patton and Michael P. Murphy pose in Afghanistan on June 18, 2005. Ten days later, all but Luttrell would be killed by enemy forces while supporting Operating Red Wings, which also claimed the lives of Danny Dietz and 13 other Navy Seals. (Credit: U.S. Navy via Getty Images)
With their mission compromised, the SEALs tried to move to a defensive position, but barely an hour later, dozens of Shah’s forces emerged over a ridgeline. An avalanche of AK-47 fire, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars cascaded down the mountain. The terrain proved just as vicious as the enemy. As the Taliban fighters advanced, the SEALs scrambled, fell and jumped hundreds of feet down the mountain. One fall shattered three of Luttrell’s vertebrae.
Dietz was shot multiple times during the firefight, and although his right thumb had been blown off in the battle, he continued to shoot at the enemy to protect his unit. As Luttrell hooked his arms underneath the shoulders of his badly wounded comrade to drag him down the slope, a bullet hit Dietz in the back of his head. He died in Luttrell’s arms.
The badly wounded Murphy knew their best chance at survival was to call in reinforcements. Without a workable radio connection, the team leader cast his personal safety aside and moved to a completely exposed position, the only location where he could get a signal on his satellite phone. As Murphy phoned for backup, a bullet ripped through his back. The lieutenant managed to complete his call and even keep up the fight, but he could not survive. Luttrell holed up with Axelson, who had sustained a terrible head wound, when a rocket-propelled grenade blasted the two apart. Luttrell never saw Axelson again.
Luttrell miraculously survived the blast and managed to elude capture by the time reinforcements arrived. Alerted by Murphy’s call, two Chinook helicopters carrying Special Operations Forces rushed to the area of the firefight, but as one of the aircraft hovered to discharge its troops, a rocket-propelled grenade shot it out of the sky. The eight SEALs and eight Army Night Stalkers aboard all died.
By the time the sun set on the disastrous day, 19 Americans were dead. Luttrell was presumed to have been a 20th victim, but in spite of bullet wounds, a broken back and rocks and shrapnel protruding from his legs, the SEAL survived. Unaware of the tragedy that befell the rescue operation, Luttrell crawled seven miles through the mountains. In spite of his wounds, he killed chasing Taliban with his rifle and grenades as he continued to evade capture.
As the sun blazed down, the thirsty Luttrell licked the sweat off his arms until he found a waterfall. As he sipped its cool waters, he suddenly found himself surrounded once again by a band of local men. These men, however, proved to be more friend than foe. One of the men, Mohammad Gulab, assured Luttrell they were not Taliban, and he and three others carried the wounded warrior back to their village of Sabray. Bound by a tribal code of honor known as Pashtunwali, Gulab gave Luttrell food, water and shelter. Although the Taliban encircled the village and threatened his family and neighbors if he didn’t turn over the American, Gulab refused. For four days, Luttrell was shuttled among houses and even into a cave to prevent his capture.
Finally, Gulab’s father traveled to a Marine outpost with a note from Luttrell. The military launched a large combat search-and-rescue operation with warplanes and ground forces that attacked the Taliban fighters and brought home their missing man. As Gulab helped the limping SEAL to a waiting helicopter, an Air Force pararescueman held out his outstretched arm to Luttrell and said, “Welcome home, brother.”
For his actions, Luttrell received the Navy Cross in a 2006 White House ceremony, and Axelson and Dietz received the same honor posthumously. Murphy posthumously received his country’s highest military honor, the Medal of Honor. Luttrell may have been the firefight’s lone survivor, but he hardly emerged unscathed. He struggled with survivor’s guilt, post-traumatic stress disorder and physical after-effects in the ensuing years. “I died on that mountain, too,” he said of his torment in a 2007 interview with NBC. “I left a part of myself up there.”
The Strange Story Of The Man Behind 'Strange Fruit'
Abel Meeropol watches as his sons, Robert and Michael, play with a train set.
Courtesy of Robert and Michael Meeropol
One of Billie Holiday's most iconic songs is "Strange Fruit," a haunting protest against the inhumanity of racism. Many people know that the man who wrote the song was inspired by a photograph of a lynching. But they might not realize that he's also tied to another watershed moment in America's history.
The man behind "Strange Fruit" is New York City's Abel Meeropol, and he really has two stories. They both begin at Dewitt Clinton High School, a public high school in the Bronx that has an astonishing number of famous people in its alumni. James Baldwin went there. So did Countee Cullen, Richard Rodgers, Burt Lancaster, Stan Lee, Neil Simon, Richard Avedon and Ralph Lauren.
Meeropol graduated from Dewitt Clinton in 1921 he went on to teach English there for 17 years. He was also a poet and a social activist, says Gerard Pelisson, who wrote a book about the school.
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Evolution Of A Song: 'Strange Fruit'
In the late 1930s, Pellison says, Meeropol "was very disturbed at the continuation of racism in America, and seeing a photograph of a lynching sort of put him over the edge."
Meeropol once said the photograph "haunted" him "for days." So he wrote a poem about it, which was then printed in a teachers union publication. An amateur composer, Meeropol also set his words to music. He played it for a New York club owner — who ultimately gave it to Billie Holiday.
When Holiday decided to sing "Strange Fruit," the song reached millions of people. While the lyrics never mention lynching, the metaphor is painfully clear:
Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
And the sudden smell of burning flesh!
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.
In 1999, Time magazine named "Strange Fruit" the "song of the century." The Library of Congress put it in the National Recording Registry. It's been recorded dozens of times. Herbie Hancock and Marcus Miller did an instrumental version, with Miller evoking the poem on his mournful bass clarinet.
Miller says he was surprised to learn the song was written by a white Jewish guy from the Bronx. "Strange Fruit," he says, took extraordinary courage both for Meeropol to write and for Holiday to sing.
"The '60s hadn't happened yet," he says. "Things like that weren't talked about. They certainly weren't sung about."
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New York lawmakers didn't like "Strange Fruit." In 1940, Meeropol was called to testify before a committee investigating communism in public schools. They wanted to know whether the American Communist Party had paid him to write the song. They had not — but, like many New York teachers in his day, Meeropol was a Communist.
Journalist David Margolick, who wrote Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song, says, "There are a million reasons to disparage communism now. But American Communism, one point it had in its favor was that it was concerned about civil rights very early."
Meeropol left his teaching job at Dewitt Clinton in 1945. He eventually quit the Communist Party.
And that's where the second part of Meeropol's story begins. The link is the pseudonym he used when writing poetry and music: Lewis Allan.
"Abel Meeropol's pen name 'Lewis Allan' were the names of their children who were stillborn, who never lived," says his son, Robert Meeropol. He and his older brother, Michael, were raised by Abel and his wife, Anne Meeropol, after the boys' parents — Ethel and Julius Rosenberg — were executed for espionage in 1953.
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sentenced to death for conspiring to give atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. The Rosenbergs had also been Communists.
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are taken to prison after being found guilty of nuclear espionage. They were subsequently executed. Keystone/Getty Images hide caption
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are taken to prison after being found guilty of nuclear espionage. They were subsequently executed.
The couple's trial and execution made national headlines, and there was also something of a salacious element, given that the Rosenbergs were a married couple. News accounts described it as "the first husband and wife to die in the electric chair."
At the time, the Rosenberg sons, Robert and Michael, were 6 and 10, respectively. News photographs of the boys show them dressed in suits visiting their parents in prison.
"They're these little boys and they're wearing these caps, and they look so young and so vulnerable. It's really a very poignant image," says Margolick.
Robert Meeropol says that in the months following his parents' execution, it was unclear who would take care of him and his brother. It was the height of McCarthyism. Even family members were fearful of being in any way associated with the Rosenbergs or Communism.
Then, at a Christmas party at the home of W.E.B. Du Bois, the boys were introduced to Abel and Anne Meeropol. A few weeks later, they were living with them.
"One of the most remarkable things was how quickly we adapted," Robert says. "First of all, Abel, what I remember about him as a 6-year-old was that he was a real jokester. He liked to tell silly jokes and play word games, and he would put on these comedy shows that would leave me rolling."
There is something else about Abel Meeropol that seems to connect the man who wrote "Strange Fruit" to the man who created a loving family out of a national scandal. "He was incredibly softhearted," Robert says.
Anne Meeropol plays a song on guitar for her sons, Robert and Michael. Courtesy of Robert and Michael Meeropol hide caption
Anne Meeropol plays a song on guitar for her sons, Robert and Michael.
Courtesy of Robert and Michael Meeropol
For example, there was an old Japanese maple tree in their backyard, which sent out many new seedlings every year.
"I was the official lawnmower," Robert says, "and I was going to mow over them, and he said, 'Oh, no, you can't kill the seedlings!' I said, 'What are you going to do with them, Dad? There are dozens of them.'
"Well, he dug them up and put them in coffee cans and lined them up along the side of the house. And there were hundreds of them. But he couldn't bring himself to just kill them. It was just something he couldn't do."
Abel Meeropol died in 1986. His sons, Robert and Michael, both became college professors. They're also both involved in social issues. Robert founded the Rosenberg Fund for Children. And he says that even after all these years, he still finds himself unable to kill things in his own garden.
The Story Behind The Song: Nights In White Satin by The Moody Blues
It’s been a hit three times over, sold millions around the globe, appeared on film soundtracks and inspired more than 60 cover versions. There’s even been a theme park ride named after it. Yet half a century after he wrote it, Justin Hayward still struggles to explain the enduring appeal of the Moody Blues’ most famous song, Nights In White Satin. “It’s a curious thing,” he says, “because when I listen to the record there’s just this big empty space and those wonderful echoes that we had in the studios at Decca. But there’s a strange power to the song. It gave us a style that suddenly seemed to work for us. I think it identified the Moodies’ sound.”
First released in November 1967, Nights In White Satin was a masterpiece that bridged pop and symphonic prog, with a lyric ripped directly from Hayward’s personal life – it finds him caught between ecstasy and despair, ruing the end of one love affair while embarking on another.
“There was a lot of emotion that went into the song,” he affirms. “I was nineteen or twenty at the time, living in a two-room flat in Bayswater with Graeme [Edge, Moody Blues drummer] and our girlfriends. I came back from a gig one night, around four or five in the morning, when the birds were just twittering, sat on the side of the bed and wrote a couple of verses. The only people writing in the Moodies then were [keyboard player] Mike Pinder and myself. He’d been working on a song called Dawn Is A Feeling, which I’d heard him fiddling around with, and I knew the other guys were expecting something from me at rehearsal the next day.”
Searching for some kind of metaphor for his emotional turmoil, Hayward remembered a recent gift he’d been given. “Another girlfriend, who was neither the one that had just dumped me or the one that I was then going with, had given me some white satin sheets. They just happened to be in my suitcase and I was trying them out in this place that Graeme and I lived in. They were very romantic-looking, but totally impractical.”
When Hayward took the bones of the song into rehearsal the next day, his bandmates seemed less than enthusiastic, at least to begin with.
“I played it to the other guys and they were a bit nonplussed,” Hayward recalls. “Then Mike said: &lsquoPlay it again.’ So I did the first line, and he went [mimics the melody refrain] on Mellotron, and that’s the phrase that started to get everybody else interested. Suddenly the others could see what parts they might play on it.”
Shaped by producer Tony Clarke and arranger/conductor Peter Knight, Nights In White Satin became a sumptuous epic in the studio. It formed the centrepiece of the Moodies’ second album, Days Of Future Passed, a dawn-to-darkness song cycle that made full use of the Mellotron’s ability to simulate an orchestra. Topped off by a spoken-word poem, Late Lament, Hayward’s song clocked in at nearly seven and a half minutes. Nights was duly edited down as a single, although not everyone at Deram, Decca’s new subsidiary label, was convinced of its worth.
“We didn’t have any power or control over anything,” says Hayward. “The plugger, Tony Hall, went: &lsquoI can’t plug that!’ and washed his hands of the whole thing. But people like [executive producer] Hugh Mendl thought it was a perfect way of demonstrating their Deramic Sound system, which was Decca’s original purpose anyway. Then it started to really take off in France.”
The single had already peaked at No.19 in the UK when it topped the French chart in February 1968. And while it may not have been the huge hit the label had hoped for at home, it was the Moodies’ biggest success since reaching No.1 with the very different Go Now nearly three years earlier. Crucially, too, it marked the band’s transition from R&B also-rans to torch‑pop trailblazers, at a junction in time when psychedelia was splintering off into exciting new directions.
The album’s credits include the London Festival Orchestra, but Hayward stresses that this was a fictitious guise for Decca’s trusted in-house players. “The Festival Orchestra was a name that we made up,” he explains. “It was a group of session musicians that Peter Knight quickly put together. The only time the orchestra comes in on Days Of Future Passed is halfway through the last verse of Nights. And even then it’s just little diamonds – &lsquoplink, plonk, plink, plonk’. Otherwise everything [orchestral] you hear on our recordings is Mellotron.”
As the Moodies’ reputation grew, so did that of their most iconic song. Nights In White Satin was reissued in 1972, making the Top 10 at home and reaching No.2 on the US Billboard chart. Seven years later, having by then been covered by such disparate artists as Eric Burdon, Percy Faith, Giorgio Moroder and Californian punks The Dickies, the single charted again in Britain.
The song continues to enjoy a prolonged afterlife. In 2008, South Carolina’s Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach unveiled the Nights In White Satin: The Trip theme park, a sensory experience based on Hayward’s tune, with on-board audio, digital effects and psychedelic imagery.
These days Hayward juggles his solo career with life on the road with the Moody Blues alongside fellow Days Of Future Passed veterans Graeme Edge and bassist John Lodge. The trio draw from an illustrious back catalogue spanning decades, but Nights In White Satin occupies a special place in the set-list.
“There’s still so much emotion when we play it,” says Hayward. “It doesn’t matter how well we do it in soundcheck, it’s the audience that brings something magical to that song. The atmosphere in the room is suddenly different. There’s a feeling to it that’s quite electric.”
Little Known Black History Fact: The History of Aunt Jemima
In 1890, a former slave named Nancy Green was hired to be the spokesperson for Aunt Jemima brand food products.
Nancy Green was born into slavery in 1834 in Montgomery County, Kentucky. In 1889 the creators of Aunt Jemima, Charles Rutt and Charles Underwood, sold the company to R.T Davis, who soon found Nancy Green in Chicago. The previous owners had already agreed upon her ‘look’ of a bandana and apron. Davis combined the Aunt Jemima look with a catchy tune from the Vaudeville circuit to make the Aunt Jemima brand.
Green’s identity was first uncovered at the Worlds’ Columbian Exposition in 1893. There were so many people interested in the Aunt Jemima exhibit, police were called for crowd control. Green served pancakes to thousands of people. People loved her warm personality and friendly demeanor, not to mention her cooking. Green was given an award for showmanship at the exposition.
As a result of her dedication, Aunt Jemima received 50,000 orders for pancake mix. Not only did flour sales soar, but Green received a lifetime contract to serve as spokesperson. She was a living legend of the brand until she died in a car accident in September 1923.
After Green’s passing, the owner of Aunt Jemima, R.T. Davis, experienced financial issues and the brand was sold to Quaker Oats two years later.
As for the image of Aunt Jemima, Nancy Green was followed by Anna Robinson, whose image was changed to a painted portrait on the packaging of the mix. Next was Chicago blues singer and actress Edith Wilson. She was the first Aunt Jemima to appear in television commercials.
After Wilson there was Ethel Ernestine Harper, a former school teacher and actress. The fourth Aunt Jemima was Rosie Hall who was an advertising employee at Quaker Oats until she discovered their need for a new Aunt Jemima. After she died, Hall’s grave was declared a historical landmark.
Next, there was Aylene Lewis. She made her first appearance of Aunt Jemima in 1955 at the Aunt Jemima restaurant at Disneyland. The last woman known to appear as Aunt Jemima publicly was Ann Short Harrington. Harrington would make television appearances as the brand spokesperson in the New York area.
‘Bohemian Rhapsody’: The Story Behind Queen’s Rule-Breaking Classic Song
With ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, Queen recorded a song that broke all the rules, went on to break records, and continues to astonish in its audacity.
Queen’s epic rock song “Bohemian Rhapsody” began life sometime in the late 60s, when Freddie Mercury was a student at Ealing Art College, starting out as a few ideas for a song scribbled on scraps of paper.
Queen guitarist Brian May remembers the brilliant singer and songwriter giving them the first glimpse in the early 70s of the masterpiece he had at one time called “The Cowboy Song,” perhaps because of the line “Mama… just killed a man.”
“I remember Freddie coming in with loads of bits of paper from his dad’s work, like Post-it notes, and pounding on the piano,” May said in 2008. “He played the piano like most people play the drums. And this song he had was full of gaps where he explained that something operatic would happen here and so on. He’d worked out the harmonies in his head.”
Mercury told bandmates that he believed he had enough material for about three songs but was thinking about blending all the lyrics into one long extravaganza. The final six-minute iconic mini rock opera became the band’s defining song, and eventually provided the title of the hit 2019 biopic starring Rami Malek as Mercury.
‘Here Comes The Sun’: The Story Behind The Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road’ Song
With George Harrison’s songwriting blossoming during the ‘Abbey Road’ sessions, ‘Here Comes The Sun’ emerged as a standout song from the album.
While George Harrison had been contributing songs to Beatles albums since 1963, he had long been in the shadow of Lennon and McCartney. By 1969, however, his compositions had reached such a standard that his two songs on Abbey Road (“Something’” and “Here Comes The Sun”) were among the standout songs on that album. As George said in 1969, “I wasn’t Lennon, or I wasn’t McCartney. I was me. And the only reason I started to write songs was because I thought, Well, if they can write them, I can write them.” But, given John and Paul’s prolific output, it wasn’t easy for George to find space for his songs on Beatles records.
By the time The Beatles regrouped at Twickenham film studios on January 2, 1969, George had a backlog of songs, including “All Things Must Pass” and “Isn’t It A Pity,” the latter dating back as far as the Revolver sessions in 1966. On that first morning at Twickenham, John and George played each other their latest songs. But while George enthusiastically pitched in to help on John’s “Don’t Let Me Down,” when George tried to engage John on his song “Let It Down,” John struggled with its chord structure, choosing instead to play some old Chuck Berry tunes. This was a theme that would recur throughout the “Get Back” sessions.
George’s inability to get the group engaged on his new compositions would prove a source of frustration for the youngest Beatle. At one stage, George told John that he was thinking of making a solo record, by way of using up the songs he had accumulated – a venture John actively encouraged.
By the following Friday, January 10, George had had enough and declared that he was leaving the band. After such a positive experience in the US, George found the Twickenham sessions a step too far. As he recalled in Anthology, “I had spent the last few months of 1968 producing an album by Jackie Lomax and hanging out with Bob Dylan and The Band in Woodstock, having a great time. For me, to come back into the winter of discontent with The Beatles in Twickenham was very unhealthy and unhappy. But I can remember feeling quite optimistic about it. I thought, OK, it’s the New Year and we have a new approach to recording. I think the first couple of days were OK, but it was soon quite apparent that it was just the same as it had been when we were last in the studio, and it was going to be painful again.”
Though George returned to the fold when sessions moved to Apple Studios on January 21, he no longer pushed for any of his songs to be included in the eventual live show the group would perform on the roof of their building (the legendary “rooftop concert”).
The origin of ‘Here Comes The Sun’”
In April, George absented himself from an Apple meeting, choosing instead to head 20 miles south to his friend Eric Clapton’s house in Ewhurst, Surrey. And it was while relaxing with Eric in the garden that the seeds of “Here Comes The Sun” were planted. As George recalled in his autobiography, I Me Mine: “‘Here Comes The Sun’ was written at the time when Apple was getting like school, where we had to go and be businessmen: ‘sign this’ and ‘sign that’. Anyway, it seems as if winter in England goes on forever, by the time spring comes you really deserve it. So one day I decided I was going to sag off Apple and I went over to Eric Clapton’s house. The relief of not having to go see all those dopey accountants was wonderful, and I walked around the garden with one of Eric’s acoustic guitars and wrote “Here Comes The Sun.’” George completed the song while holidaying in Sardinia, returning just two weeks before work began on the song at EMI’s studios on Abbey Road on July 7 – Ringo’s 29th birthday.
“Here Comes The Sun” was the last song that George would present to the group, though John was absent for its recording, having been hospitalized by a car crash in Scotland. The song bore a number of influences. George explained: “It was a bit like ‘If I Needed Someone’, you know, the basic riff going through it, you know all those ‘Bells Of Rhymney’ Byrds type things. So, that’s how I see it, anyway. It’s quite vintage.”
John saw a much older influence, commenting in 1969: “It reminds me of Buddy Holly, in a way. This song is just the way he’s progressing, you know. He’s writing all kinds of songs and once the door opens, the floodgates open.” George’s love of Indian music was another influence – particularly with the complex timing of the instrumental passage at the end of each chorus. “He said, ‘Oh, I’ve got this song. It’s like seven-and-a-half time.’” Ringo recalled in Martin Scorsese’s Living In The Material World. “‘Yeah, so?’ You know, he might as well have talked to me in Arabic, you know what I mean? I had to find some way that I could physically do it and do it every time so it came off on time. That’s one of those Indian tricks.”
‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’: The Story Behind The Beatles’ Song
Starting life as a tender acoustic song, ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ became an epic rock track, and one of George Harrison’s finest Beatles moments.
Of all the songs on The White Album, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” underwent some of the most radical changes over the course of recording. Left unheard until its 1996 release on Anthology 3, the earliest versions of the song were tender, George Harrison singing to his own acoustic guitar accompaniment, backed only by Paul McCartney on harmonium. A touching version of the song, it was nonetheless not what George was after, and would be drastically remade – not once, but twice – before he was satisfied. The lyrics would also go through a number of changes before the final version, with entire verses being lost along the way.
The Songwriting Process
The song began as an experiment with a theory from the I Ching while George was visiting his parents. “‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ was just a simple study based on the theory that everything has some purpose for being there at that given moment,” George explained. “I was thinking that anything I see when I open a book, I’m going to write a song about. So I opened this book and I saw ‘gently weeps.’ I shut the book and then I started the tune.”
The Starry Night
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The Starry Night, a moderately abstract landscape painting (1889) of an expressive night sky over a small hillside village, one of Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh’s most celebrated works.
The oil-on-canvas painting is dominated by a night sky roiling with chromatic blue swirls, a glowing yellow crescent moon, and stars rendered as radiating orbs. One or two cypress trees, often described as flame-like, tower over the foreground to the left, their dark branches curling and swaying to the movement of the sky that they partly obscure. Amid all this animation, a structured village sits in the distance on the lower right of the canvas. Straight controlled lines make up the small cottages and the slender steeple of a church, which rises as a beacon against rolling blue hills. The glowing yellow squares of the houses suggest the welcoming lights of peaceful homes, creating a calm corner amid the painting’s turbulence.
Van Gogh painted The Starry Night during his 12-month stay at the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France, several months after suffering a breakdown in which he severed a part of his own ear with a razor. While at the asylum, he painted during bursts of productivity that alternated with moods of despair. As an artist who preferred working from observation, van Gogh was limited to the subjects that surrounded him—his own likeness, views outside his studio window, and the surrounding countryside that he could visit with a chaperone.
Although van Gogh’s subjects were restricted, his style was not. He experimented with the depiction of various weather conditions and changing light, often painting the wheat fields nearby under a bright summer sun or dark storm clouds. Van Gogh was also particularly preoccupied by the challenges of painting a night landscape and wrote about it not only to his brother, Theo, but to a fellow painter, Émile Bernard, and to his sister, Willemien. In a letter addressed to the latter, he alleged that night was more colourful than day and that stars were more than simple white dots on black, instead appearing yellow, pink, or green. By the time van Gogh arrived at Saint-Rémy, he had already painted a few night scenes, including Starry Night (Rhône) (1888). In that work, stars appear in bursts of yellow against a blue-black sky and compete with both the glowing gas lamps below and their reflection in the Rhône River.
At the asylum, van Gogh observed the night sky from his barred bedroom window and wrote a letter to Theo describing a magnificent view of the morning star very early one morning in the summer of 1889. Because he was not allowed to paint in his bedroom, he painted the scene from memory or possibly drawings and used his imagination for the small village that did not actually exist. Employing the expressive style he had developed during his stay in Paris in 1886–88, he applied the paint directly from the tube onto the canvas, creating thick impasto and intense hues. Ambivalent about working from his imagination, van Gogh eventually regarded the finished Starry Night as a failure, and Theo frankly indicated that the painting favoured style over substance.
The painting was one of van Gogh’s late works, as he committed suicide the following year. His artistic career was brief, comprising only 10 years, but it was very productive. He left more than 800 paintings and 700 to 850 drawings to his brother. When the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City purchased The Starry Night from a private collector in 1941, it was not well known, but it has since become one of van Gogh’s most famous, if not one of the most recognized, works in the art history canon.