“Visiting Hours” by Ed Sheeran
As expounded on towards the tail end of this article, “Visiting Hours” is a song which Ed Sheeran composed in memory of a loved one named Michael Gudinski. And this piece doesn’t beat around the bush in establishing that fact that it is addressed to a deceased individual, even if that notion is put metaphorically.
And the way it is presented is by the vocalist expressing a desire “that heaven had visiting hours”. For if such were so he could then spend time, in the present, with the addressee.
And as depicted in the verses, it most simply appears that he is missing this person. However, in the grand scheme of things, Ed is mature enough to understand that his passing was the fulfillment of destiny, so to speak.
Or as the vocalist puts it now, that this person is gone, he has become more dedicated to ‘live life the way he was taught’ by said individual who is also exhibited, in the second verse especially, as having been a mentor-like figure.
Meanwhile the chorus is more sentimentally in tune with the first verse than the overall narrative per se. For therein, Sheeran uses the passage to reiterate the notion of ‘so much changing since’ the addressee passed away.
And at the beginning of the song, the first reason he puts forth as to why he would want to visit this dead person is to fill him in all that transpired since his passing, more specifically concerning a mutual loved one. It has been deduced that the said mutual loved one would be Sheeran’s own daughter, Lyra. Lyra was born less than a year before this track was released (i.e. a few months prior to Gudinski’s passing).
All in all
So even though for the most part “Visiting Hours” can be arguably deemed as a general song of bereavement, at the same time certain parts of the tune, most notably the first verse and subsequently the second, do imply that it is about someone in particular in Ed Sheeran’s life.
Release of “Visiting Hours” and = (Equals)
On 19 August 2021, Visiting Hours became the second single issued from = (Equals), the project concurrently shaping up to be Ed Sheeran’s fifth LP. Ed actually began working on the project since 2017.
FYI: All four of his previous studio albums, three of which are also named after basic mathematical symbols, were UK Singles Chart toppers. And relatedly Sheeran, who has now been active for a little over 15 years, ranks amongst the best-selling artists in music industry history.
And to note the first single from =, which came out a couple of months prior, was “Bad Habits“. “Bad Habits” topped the UK Singles Chart and has proven to be a major international hit.
Ed Sheeran announced the title of this album along with the release of “Visiting Hours”.
Two labels headquartered in America are behind the release of this track. The labels in question are: Atlantic Records and Asylum Records.
Writing and Production
Ed Sheeran co-wrote and co-produced “Visiting Hours”. This was a feat he completed in Australia while being there to mourn the loss of a friend, Michael Gudinski.
In fact he began putting the song together while quarantining for two weeks. Ed was forced to quarantine for the aforementioned period of time since it was a requirement to attend Gudinski’s memorial service. It should be noted that Australia was infamously stringent as far COVID rules were concerned.
And who was Michael Gudinski?
Michael Gudinski (1952-2021) was a very prominent figure in the music industry of the Land Down Under. He was so powerful in fact that he was officially granted a State Memorial. And said event, which took place on 24 March 2021, also marked the debut of “Visiting Hours” during an emotional performance on the part of Ed Sheeran.
And as a further testament to Gudinski’s popularity Kylie Minogue, who is like Australia’s version of Madonna, provides backup vocals on the track itself.
Full Writing and Production Credits for “Visiting Hours”
Besides Sheeran, Johnny McDaid (so Snow Patrol) also acted as a writer and producer of “Visiting Hours”. In addition to that, Johnny also acted as a backup vocalist on the track. And the other writers are stated below:
- Ant Clemons
- Michael Pollack
- Kim Lang Smith
- Amy Wadge
Kylie Minogue didn’t contribute to the penning of this song.