As the preparation continues for Sunday’s show, I have come across a wonderful piece of musical history. It was this weekend back in 1976 that George Harrison of the Beatles had to pay substantial damages for copyright infringement of his worldwide hit “My Sweet Lord”. It fit perfect into my “On this Day” feature.
Basically “My Sweet Lord” was Harrison’s first single as a solo artist, and subsequently his biggest hit. The song is about the Eastern religions he was studying at the time of writing. Highly unusual for a hit song, Harrison repeats part of a Hindu mantra in the lyric when he sings, “Hare Krishna… Krishna, Krishna.” When set to music, this mantra is typically part of a chant that acts as a call to the Lord. Harrison interposes it with a Christian call to faith: “Hallelujah” – he was pointing out that “Hallelujah and Hare Krishna are quite the same thing.” However in 1976, Bright Tunes Music sued George Harrison because they said My Sweet Lord sounded too much like the 1963 Chiffons hit “He’s so Fine” for which they owned the copyright. During the convoluted court case, Harrison explained how he composed the song and the fact he he got the idea for “My Sweet Lord” from The Edwin Hawkins Singers’ “Oh Happy Day”not “He’s So Fine.” In the end, Harrison was found guilty of “subconscious plagiarism” and had to pay $1,599,987 of the earnings from “My Sweet Lord” to Bright Tunes, although this was reduced slightly at a later date. Harrison stated at a later date, he never made any money from the song.
Therefore as part of our “On this day” feature we will be playing both “My Sweet Lord” and “He’s so Fine” … it is up to you to make you your own mind if he badly done by or did in fact practice “subconscious plagiarism.
This coming Sundays show is coming together nicely. Still a little more to do and I’ll let you know when the next step is complete.
Andy Cadabra: Solid Gold Sunday every Sunday at 6 o’clock for two hours of the very best of the 60’s and 70’s.