Sunday, November 25, 2012
God Rock Sunday: My Sweet Fine Happy Lord
I posted a timeline and some words about "My Sweet Lord" at my other blog, Boneyard Media, where I occasionally spin my wheels on the subject of "borrowed tunes," among other things. Over here, though, let's just make it snappy.
The Chiffons - "He's So Fine" (1963, #4): The song Harrison was sued for plagiarizing when his "My Sweet Lord" became a hit.
Edwin Hawkins Singers - "Oh Happy Day" (1969, #4): The song that may have influenced Harrison even more than "He's So Fine" but which never came up in court.
George Harrison - "My Sweet Lord" (1970, #1): Harrison's glorious lead off single from his All Things Must Pass album. It still stands as a distinct entity, no matter how much it may have borrowed from both "He's So Fine" and "Oh Happy Day."
Billy Preston - "My Sweet Lord" (1971, #90): Preston's chugging version, credited to Harrison as writer and producer, entered Billboard's Hot 100 charts in early '71.
Jody Miller - "He's So Fine" (1971, Billboard #53, country #5): Country singer Jody Miller seemed to rub salt in Harrison's wounds with this version of the Chiffons song that incorporated unique motifs from "My Sweet Lord."
The Chiffons - "My Sweet Lord"(1975, did not chart): One wonders whether Harrison viewed the Chiffons' sunny 1975 cover as a cheer or jeer.
George Harrison - "My Sweet Lord 2000" (2001, did not chart): Harrison's 2000 revisitation of the song self-consciously alters the memorable melodic aspects that initially got him in trouble.