George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” may have been one of the most successful songs of his post-Beatles career, but it wasn’t entirely his song.
The chord progression, background vocals and overall melody bore a striking resemblance to The Chiffons’ 1963 hit “He’s So Fine,” so much so that a judge found Harrison guilty of “subconsciously” copying the Chiffons’ tune in 1976 after a ten-year legal battle.
Despite the bad publicity, Harrison maintained that he never knowingly lifted the tune. John Lennon himself noted the similarity and told Playboy in 1980 that Harrison “must have known” that he was being a bit disingenuous. To this day, this case ranks high on the list of infamous music plagiarism cases.
Relatedly – Rock Cellar Magazine acquired an exclusive interview with singer/songwriter Delaney Bramlett before his death in which he describes how he – Delaney – came up with the initial My Sweet Lord riff (based on He’s So Fine), while showing George Harrison how to write a gospel song. Here’s the story:
Did Delaney Bramlett Really Write ‘My Sweet Lord’ ?
Now, after reading that, listen for yourselves and tell us what YOU think:
He’s So Fine
My Sweet Lord