Sun Arise

Last updated
"Sun Arise"
Single by Rolf Harris
B-side "The Big Black Hat"
Released1960
Format 7" single
Genre Folk, pop
Length3:03
Label Epic, EMI Columbia
Songwriter(s) Rolf Harris, Harry Butler
Producer(s) George Martin

"Sun Arise" is the fourth single released by Australian singer-songwriter Rolf Harris. Released in January 1961 in Australia and October 1962 in the UK, it was Harris' third charting hit in Australia (following "The Big Black Hat" in 1960) and second in the UK (following "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport" also 1960). Unlike his early chart hits, "Sun Arise" was not a comedy record, but came within the genre of world music with its didgeridoo-inspired sound.

Rolf Harris Australian-born, British-based entertainer and convicted sex offender

Rolf Harris is an Australian entertainer whose career has encompassed work as a musician, singer-songwriter, composer, comedian, actor, painter and television personality.

Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport 1960 single by Rolf Harris

"Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport" is a song written by Australian singer Rolf Harris in 1957 which became a hit around the world in the 1960s in two recordings. Inspired by Harry Belafonte's calypsos, it is about an Australian stockman on his deathbed. The song is one of the best-known and most successful Australian songs.

World music is a musical category encompassing many different styles of music from around the globe. It includes many forms of ethnic music, indigenous music, folk music, neotraditional music, and music where more than one cultural tradition, such as non-Western music and Western popular music, intermingle.

Contents

Production and lyrics

The song was written with fellow Western Australian Harry Butler, a naturalist later known for his television show In the Wild . [1]

Western Australia State in Australia

Western Australia is a state occupying the entire western third of Australia. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, and the Southern Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east, and South Australia to the south-east. Western Australia is Australia's largest state, with a total land area of 2,529,875 square kilometres, and the second-largest country subdivision in the world, surpassed only by Russia's Sakha Republic. The state has about 2.6 million inhabitants – around 11 percent of the national total – of whom the vast majority live in the south-west corner, 79 per cent of the population living in the Perth area, leaving the remainder of the state sparsely populated.

William Henry "Harry" Butler was an Australian naturalist and environmental consultant, best known as the presenter of the popular ABC television series In the Wild from 1976 to 1981.

In The Wild is a popular nature television series produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation from 1976 until 1981. It was hosted by Harry Butler, a noted Australian naturalist and environmental consultant.

After the success of "Tie Me Kangaroo Down", Harris assumed that his future records would be automatically released in the United Kingdom by his label EMI Records. EMI, however, were not so sure and directed him to George Martin, then known for producing some of the more off-the-wall records of the time. [2] Martin initially called the recording "very boring", which Harris countered by saying that the Aborigines, who he was trying to imitate, would "repeat a phrase over and over again and it would become mesmerising". The song was re-written with slightly more lyrics and recorded using eight double basses to mimic the didgeridoo, which Harris could not play at the time. [2] A notable feature of this song is the playing of claves.

EMI Records record label founded by the EMI company

EMI Records Limited was a British record label founded by the music company of the same name in 1972 as its flagship label, and launched in January 1973 as the successor to its Columbia and Parlophone record labels. The label was later launched worldwide. It has a branch in India called "EMI Records India", run by director Mohit Suri.

George Martin English record producer, arranger, composer, conductor, audio engineer and musician

Sir George Henry Martin, was an English record producer, arranger, composer, conductor, audio engineer, and musician. He was referred to as the "Fifth Beatle" in reference to his extensive involvement on each of the Beatles' original albums. Paul McCartney said upon Martin's death, "If anyone earned the title of the fifth Beatle, it was George".

Didgeridoo wind instrument

The didgeridoo is a wind instrument developed by Indigenous Australians of northern Australia potentially within the last 1,500 years and still in widespread use today both in Australia and around the world. It is sometimes described as a natural wooden trumpet or "drone pipe". Musicologists classify it as a brass aerophone.

The song's lyrical structure is simple with the vast majority of the lines starting simply "Sun Arise". The lyrics of the song came from a story Butler told him about Aboriginal beliefs. Some tribes see the sun as a goddess. Each time she wakes in the morning, her skirts of light gradually cover more and more of the land, bringing back warmth and light to the air. [3] The only explicit reference to anything Australian in the song is the mention of the Kangaroo Paw flower, which is endemic to Western Australia. [4]

Lyrics are words that make up a song usually consisting of verses and choruses. The writer of lyrics is a lyricist. The words to an extended musical composition such as an opera are, however, usually known as a "libretto" and their writer, as a "librettist". The meaning of lyrics can either be explicit or implicit. Some lyrics are abstract, almost unintelligible, and, in such cases, their explication emphasizes form, articulation, meter, and symmetry of expression. Rappers can also create lyrics that are meant to be spoken rhythmically rather than sung.

Kangaroo paw

Kangaroo paw is the common name for a number of species, in two genera of the family Haemodoraceae, that are endemic to the south-west of Western Australia. These rhizomatous perennial plants are noted for their unique bird-attracting flowers. The tubular flowers are coated with dense hairs and open at the apex with six claw-like structures, and it is from this paw-like formation that the common name "kangaroo paw" is derived.

Chart performance

The track was Harris' second top ten hit in the UK Singles Chart, peaking at no. 3. [5] It was also his first hit in the United States, at no. 61 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also reached no. 61 in his native Australia and no. 98 on re-release in 1963. Thirty-five years after originally charting in the UK, the song (albeit in a re-recorded version) re-entered the chart in October 1997, reaching no. 26. [5]

UK Singles Chart British singles sales chart

The UK Singles Chart is compiled by the Official Charts Company (OCC), on behalf of the British record industry, listing the top-selling singles in the United Kingdom, based upon physical sales, paid-for downloads and streaming. The Official Chart, broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and MTV, is the UK music industry's recognised official measure of singles and albums popularity because it is the most comprehensive research panel of its kind, today surveying over 15,000 retailers and digital services daily, capturing 99.9% of all singles consumed in Britain across the week, and over 98% of albums. To be eligible for the chart, a single is currently defined by the Official Charts Company (OCC) as either a 'single bundle' having no more than four tracks and not lasting longer than 25 minutes or one digital audio track not longer than 15 minutes with a minimum sale price of 40 pence. The rules have changed many times as technology has developed, the most notable being the inclusion of digital downloads in 2005 and streaming in July 2014.

The Billboard Hot 100 is the music industry standard record chart in the United States for songs, published weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on sales, radio play, and online streaming in the United States.

Kent Music Report Australian music chart between 1974-1998

The Kent Music Report was a weekly record chart of Australian music singles and albums which was compiled by music enthusiast David Kent from May 1974 through to 1988. After 1988, the Australian Recording Industry Association, which had been using the report under licence for a number of years, chose to produce their own listing as the ARIA Charts.

"Sun Arise" was included on the album of the same name in 1963.

Cover versions

The song was covered by Alice Cooper (band) on their third album, Love it to Death .

Alice Cooper (band) American rock band

Alice Cooper was an American rock band formed in Phoenix, Arizona in 1964. The band consisted of lead singer Vince Furnier, Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, and Neal Smith (drums). Furnier legally changed his name to Alice Cooper and has had a solo career under that name since the band became inactive in 1975. The band was notorious for their elaborate, theatrical shock rock stage shows. In 2011, the original Alice Cooper band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin performed the song live on the Denton television show in 1994, as part of Page & Plant's No Quarter tour.

The Godfathers covered the song as one of their first singles, which was later compiled onto Hit by Hit .

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References

  1. "Sun Arise - ROLF HARRIS (1960) - Pop Archives - Sources of Australian Pop Records from the 50s, 60s and 70s". Pop Archives. Retrieved 2016-09-26.
  2. 1 2 Medd, James: "Lessons learnt in the music business by Rolf Harris" from 'The Word Magazine' August 10, 2010
  3. Harris, Rolf: "Can You Tell Me What It Is Yet?" Bantam Press, London, 2001
  4. "Rolf Harris - Sun Arise Lyrics | LetsSingIt Lyrics". Artists.letssingit.com. Retrieved 2016-09-26.
  5. 1 2 Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 244. ISBN   1-904994-10-5.