George Harrison was found guilty of "subconsciously plagiarizing" The Chiffons hit “He’s So Fine” 45 years ago today (August 31st, 1976) when he wrote “My Sweet Lord.”
That ruling cost the rock ‘n roll legend $600,000 in royalties. The song would go on to become the first #1 post-Beatles hit by a former member. It was featured on Harrison’s triple-LP ‘All Things Must Pass.’
The late George Harrison talked about being inspired to write “My Sweet Lord” after a visit to India and reading a book written by Swami Gandiya Vaishnava:
"He said, 'If there's a god we must see him. If there's a soul we must perceive it, otherwise it's better not to believe.' And I thought, 'Yeah, right on. All these years I've been hearing all this stuff like, 'Well, you know, we like to believe in God, but he's dead/ We nailed him up 2,000 years ago and just shut up and give us your money.' And that's the kind of spiritual attitude that I was brought up with. And to hear somebody saying, 'If there's God we must see him.' And I thought, 'Yeah. Right. I want to see him.' And so I wrote that tune on that kind of basis."
Harrison said his goal was to write an upbeat, catchy tune like “Oh Happy Day” by the Edwin Hawkins Singers in 1967.
Harrison said, "That really blissed me out when I listened to that record, and I just thought, 'Oh, I got to write one of them.' And that's what I tried to write, 'Oh Happy Day,' but, you know, unfortunately they thought I wrote 'He's So Fine,' which I now own, which is poetic justice."
George Harrison’s estate retains the rights to "My Sweet Lord," along with "He's So Fine," which Harrison purchased to prevent any future royalty claims.
[Source: Classic Hits Today]