A Classic “Borrowed” Melody

July 5, 2009 at 8:16 pm (Entertainment, General, Media, Music) (, , , , , , , , )

This time, let’s take a look at the most well-known case of musical plagiarism, the George Harrison My Sweet Lord debacle. In late 1969, George, noodling around on his guitar, came up with a little tune that was released on his 1970 album, All Things Must Pass:

Turned out that George appears to have – either consciously or unconsciously – taken the melody for My Sweet Lord from a song recorded by The Chiffons in 1962, He’s So Fine:

Do lang, indeed… And so, George was well and truly raked over the coals, and eventually a (rather complex) settlement was reached.

What a mess. George later recorded a song about the experience, called, simply enough, This Song:

George Harrison – This Song

(Sorry about that failure to embed the video. The YouTube page opens in a new window. The copyright holders are being sticky about it. Poopheads.)

Self-parody never sounded so good. Monty Python alumnus Eric Idle even makes a brief voice appearance about halfway through, offering the opinion that it “sounds like Sugar Pie Honey Bunch!”

Or perhaps, as Eric also said, it sounds more like Rescue Me.  Funny, though.  The ladies of the jury look like George.

Please join me here again in a few days to examine another pair of songs, and compare their similarities. If you’ve got any ideas, or wish to dispute my conclusions, feel free to offer your opinion below. I’m looking forward to it!

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