George Harrison Sucks Customer Reviews and Feedback

From Everything.Sucks

George Harrison (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001) was an English musician, singer, songwriter, and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles. Sometimes called "the quiet Beatle", Harrison embraced Indian culture and helped broaden the scope of popular music through his incorporation of Indian instrumentation and Hindu-aligned spirituality in the Beatles' work. Although the majority of the band's songs were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, most Beatles albums from 1965 onwards contained at least two Harrison compositions. His songs for the group include "Taxman", "Within You Without You", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something".

George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” Copyright Case

George Harrison’s debut single blanketed the airwaves, a struggling New York publisher, Bright Tunes Music, must’ve heard divine intervention in the melody of “My Sweet Lord.” It was identical to a chestnut in their dusty catalog, “He’s So Fine.”

On Feb. 10, 1971, as Harrison’s hit was idling down from four weeks at No. 1, Bright Tunes filed a copyright infringement suit.

The older song, written by Ronnie Mack, had been a chart-topper in 1963 for the Chiffons. That same year, the Beatles were routinely singing the praises of such American R&B tunes, both in interviews with the British press and in the set lists of their live show. There was no question of access to the previous work, as Harrison freely admitted during his trial.

“I wasn’t consciously aware of the similarity when I wrote the song,” Harrison said. “But once it started to get a lot of airplay, people started talking about it, and it was then I thought, ‘Why didn’t I realize?’ It would have been very easy to change a note here or there and not affect the feeling of the record.”

Harrison tried to settle out of court. His manager Allen Klein even offered to buy Bright Tunes’ entire catalog. But the publisher dug in, insisting that Harrison should surrender his copyright. A four-year stalemate ensued, during which Bright Tunes went into receivership for unrelated business problems.

The case finally came to trial in February 1976. Side by side, the two songs were painstakingly analyzed. “The plaintiff had huge charts made up with the three notes from Motif A and the four or five notes from Motif B drawn on them,” Harrison recalled. “And they talked about these for about three days, to the point where I started to believe that maybe they did own those notes.”

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 (songwriter Ronnie Mack had died in 1963, shortly after “He’s So Fine” charted). “I’ve never had any money from the song,” Harrison later recalled. “It’s always been in escrow. As far as I’m concerned, the effect the song has had far exceeds any bitching between copyright people and their greed and jealousy.”

There was a happy ending for Harrison, sort of. The headaches of the litigation inspired him to write “This Song,” a single which went to No. 25 in 1976.


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