REWIND: Celebrate spring with the Beatles and other cheerful(ish) songs

Beatles, Here Comes the Sun, George Harrison

The Beatles marching toward spring.

Bay Area, something amazing happened: It stopped raining.

I know, I know. I shouldn’t complain. We recently went through a three-year stretch with no rain at all. But if I wanted to live in Seattle I would, and that month-long run of wet weather just refused to end.

To celebrate things being warm, sunny and pleasant, I’ve decided to take the rare step of putting the cynical misanthropy aside and list five cheerful, upbeat songs about spring.

Let’s see if I get to four before finding something to complain about.

[Gokhman note: Were you expecting a St. Patrick’s Day playlist? Because Danny Willis likes to tie these things to holidays? If you guessed that, you clearly pay attention but are still wrong this time around. But if that’s what you want, we did one of those a couple of year’s ago. And it’s here.

Johnny Nash — “I Can See Clearly Now”

A bit on the nose? Yes. Cliched? Yes. But there’s a reason you still know it after 47 years. It’s a good song.

Granted some of its lasting popularity is that it’s sung in movies and TV all the time on account of it being so cliched. There was a cover for Cool Runnings, for example that made the charts. It was in Thelma and Louise as well as Deep Blue Sea, the finest movie in which Samuel L. Jackson gets unexpectedly eaten by a shark. Cheech sang it in Up in Smoke.

Still, though. It’s good!

The Beatles — “Here Comes the Sun”

Also on the nose, I know. But George is my favorite Beatle and this is his second-best songwriting effort for the band behind “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” so I’m taking the excuse to listen to it and make you do the same.

It’s also the song that welcomes attendees to Outside Lands each day for three days every August as gates open. And the best part of Outside Lands is each morning, before your skin is burnt, you smell like the guy next to you, and your feet don’t hurt.

Fun Fact: This song was written at Eric Clapton’s house back when he and Harrison were friends, before they had a bit of a falling out over Clapton marrying Harrison’s ex. That woman was the inspiration for the other classic song: “Layla” (despite not being named Layla).

Wait, divorce isn’t cheerful. Sorry. I’m supposed to be cheerful in this one. I’ll shape up.

The Friends Of Distinction — “Grazing In the Grass”

I think this is about spring? It has a spring vibe, I guess. Grass is vaguely spring-ish. The important thing is that I can dig it. You can also presumably dig it. We can dig it.

Oh, let’s dig it, baby.

The song is more or less a cover of an instrumental by legendary South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela. And it sounds… pretty much exactly the same, but without the digging of it. So I like this one better.

Katrina and the Waves — “Walking On Sunshine”

Yep, called it. Everything is going downhill.

This is a cheerful song… or was, until Futurama came along. Now it’s a tragically depressing song that causes a deep depression from which there is no escape. All because he didn’t revive his dog.

Why didn’t you revive the dog, Fry!?

Third Eye Blind — “Semi-Charmed Life”

Well dangit, this song is about meth. I can’t list five cheerful songs without ending up smack dab in the middle of meth addiction.

This is pretty cheerful though, right? I mean the music itself, not so much the tragic tale of the horrors of substance abuse. It has a definite spring vibe if you don’t listen too closely!

OK, so maybe I couldn’t make it through five cheerful songs. I’m probably just going to stick to being a downer on purpose from now on.

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