132 – Sun King – Sonya Hensley
Original Version recorded 24–25 July 1969
Ukulele version recorded – July 14 2011
Sonya Hensley – All Vocals
David Barratt – Ukulele and everything else
Produced by David Barratt at The Abattoir Of Good Taste
Written by John Lennon
Credited to Lennon & McCartney
ABOUT THE SONG
By 1969 the wild musical experimentation that the Beatles has started several years earlier had taken root and every guy with a guitar and a set of beads felt as though it was his profound and sacred duty to make ever more complex music to astound and astonish the world.
King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Jethro Tull all took up the baton. Young men with half formed beards that would not be out of place in a graphic design agency in Williamsburg 2011, played with form, structure, and bad hygiene.
While The Beatles were recording Abbey Road at the studio of the same name – new kids on the block – Pink Floyd were recording Atom Heart Mother with former Beatles engineer Norman Smith.
The Beatles were not natural Prog-Rockers but they were willing to give it a go. “Sun King” is a direct descendant of “Albatross” by “Fleetwood Mac”. The guitar sound – the rhythm and tempo all have Pete Green’s fingerprints all over them. What stops “Sun King” being “Albatross” are the exquisite harmonies by J,P and G.
The real Sun King was that well know tormentor of Protestants Louis XIV of France, but the song was probably written about the gentleman who brought the Beatles their LSD, otherwise known as liquid sunshine.
LSD was a great comfort to the Fab Four during the tribulations they faced. When the Sun King delivered the acid to the Beatles it was always a joyous occasion with “everybody laughing, everybody happy”.
I love the that at the end of the song the band break into faux-Romance language. When Lennon was asked about these lyrics and said:
"We just started joking, you know, singing ‘cuando para mucho.’ So we just made up… Paul knew a few Spanish words from school, you know. So we just strung any Spanish words that sounded vaguely like something. And of course we got ‘chicka ferdy’ in. That’s a Liverpool expression. Just like sort – it doesn’t mean anything but ‘na-na, na-na-na!’"
The direct translation would be:
quando para mucho mi amore tress felice corazon
“When by a lot my love gives happiness to my heart”
Mundo paparazzi mi amore chica verdi parasol
“World reporters my love girl is green for all”
Questo abrigado tantamucho que canite coracao
“Thanks for this very much what big hearts”
The ukulele version of Sun King features the elegant silky voice of Sonya Hensley.
Sonya has sung with some of the coolest people on the planet who no longer live here including – Lena Horne, Eartha Kitt & Les Paul.
Her voice is sunshine – enjoy.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Les Paul called her “Great, just great”.
Steve Miller said “She’s the best voice I have heard in the last twenty years”.
See her perform this Thursday (July 28 – 2011) at:
The Underground Lounge, 955 West End Ave, NYC