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My Sweet Lord vs. He's So Fine
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18 April 2011
11.59pm
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mr. Sun king coming together
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George was sued in 1971 for supposedly stealing part of the Chiffons hit He's So Fine. (Note: I'll post videos of the respective songs in about 10 minutes. as well, I just found an allumingating article which I will share as well.) He was forced to pay about $600,000 because of it. My question is, right call? Was it subconscious plagiarism?

Edit: He's So Fine.

And My Sweet Lord:

As if it matters how a man falls down.'

'When the fall's all that's left, it matters a great deal.

19 April 2011
12.38am
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Till There Was You
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I think he didn't mean to do it. I mean, there is a huge similarity in the songs, but he might have remembered the song from before and done is subconsciously. Also, at least he wrote more lyrics than "doo-lang" in the background.

I salute the lady who screamed "I love you Paul!" at a tribute band's concert.
19 April 2011
12.46am
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mr. Sun king coming together
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That's where the grey area comes in. Although, intent didn't matter in plagairism cases, as the following article shows (just copy and paste): http://abbeyrd.best.vwh.net/mysweet.htm. Great article. So I feel the case is right, but it's too grey.

As if it matters how a man falls down.'

'When the fall's all that's left, it matters a great deal.

19 April 2011
12.52am
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mithveaen
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I agree with Til. At least he did something better with the song. a-hard-days-night-george-10

Here comes the sun….. Scoobie-doobie…… Something in the way she moves…..attracts me like a cauliflower… Bop. Bop, cat bop. Go, Johnny, Go. Beware of Darkness… 
19 April 2011
12.16pm
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The Walrus
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I'd never heard He's So Fine before. I think Harrison's contribution to My Sweet Lord is so much bigger than any contribution made by the Chiffons that it shouldn't matter that they have similar tunes.

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Silly Girl
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19 April 2011
4.33pm
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Inner Light
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I feel that if 'My Sweet Lord' wasn't as big of a hit as it was, he would never have been sued. It's just another way of someone trying to make some money.

Being a musician myself, I think we all borrow from different songs sometimes not realizing it. No one would ever sue someone for a song that was a filler and had no radio play. I guess that's just the way it goes. 

The further one travels, the less one knows
19 April 2011
8.09pm
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Till There Was You
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The Inner Light has a point. It's like how some people were saying that "I Know (I Know)" has a part similar to a later Beatles song. Some parts and cords with obviously be reused, but I guess it just depends on how.

I salute the lady who screamed "I love you Paul!" at a tribute band's concert.
19 April 2011
10.25pm
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PennyLane
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Thats the thing with music. As it keeps growing in different genres, someone is bound to use the same chords or words as someone else without knowing it. If the song gets big, someone will come out of the woodwork and claim it as theirs. Like if Chuck Berry wanted to, he could sue the Rolling Stones for a large percentage of their catalog because "that riff sounds too much like mine." There is a similarity between the two songs but its not something that you would immediately recognize I think.

The thing with this case is Klein going against George. That is purely out of greed.

Well we all shine on like the moon, the stars, and the sun.
19 April 2011
10.28pm
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mr. Sun king coming together
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And you're surprised why exactly? It's Klein, the King of greed and stupidity. (No offense meant to PL). That was a shitty thing to do, changing sides.

As if it matters how a man falls down.'

'When the fall's all that's left, it matters a great deal.

19 April 2011
10.30pm
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Till There Was You
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But also, the content of the song. George made his about his god (the reason why it is not capitalized is not out of disrespect, but because he was going under a  conversion from the Catholic Church, to Hinduism. They believe in multiple gods, but according to my friend, a Hindu, some people worship three, especially). He added Christian and Indian (right?) chants to it. He made more out of the song than just "doo-lang". There was actual meaning.

I salute the lady who screamed "I love you Paul!" at a tribute band's concert.
19 April 2011
11.21pm
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StrawberryLakiesha
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Hinduism is actually a monotheistic, which means they only believe in one god their gods are all different parts of the same god, or something like that.

mY sWEET lORD IS WAAAAAAAAAY BETTER THAN hE'S sO fINE AND SO THEY SHOULD'VE PAIL GEORGE SOME MONEY$

FOR BEING NOT SO PARTICULARLY SMART!!!blue-meanie

 

 

I hate CAPS lock!!

ONE MINUTE YOU'RE DEFENDING THE WHOLE GALAXY, AND SUDDENLY, YOU FIND YOURSELF SUCKING DOWN DARJEELING WITH MARIE ANTOINETTE AND HER LITTLE SISTER.!
19 April 2011
11.48pm
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vonbontee
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Great article Mr. Sun, thanks for the link!

The article gives the date of February in '81 as the date a decision as to damages was reached. I remember this day because, by way of commenting on the news story - the exact circumstances I didn't hear until later in the evening - my local AM station played the two songs back-to-back in the morning. I knew both the songs (MSL probably since the age of 5), but never noticed their similarity until that morning. Again, note that I didn't know anything about that pending lawsuit until I read the news in the evening and realized "aha! So that's why CKCY played those two songs this morning!" My point is that merely by playing the songs back-to-back, I recognized a similarity without being prompted to do so. Do I think George was guilty of stealing a tune? Not at all, why would he be so stupid? And he'd written lots of his own tunes besides. Nevertheless, the similarity is remarkable. I think "unconscious plagiarism" is probably the best definitition of the whole situation.

It's probably only fair that George had to surrender some royalties. Although that judge's methods used to determine the amounts struck me as far too unfair and punitive to George.

I remember George saying 'Blimey, he's always talking about “Yesterday”, you'd think he was Beethoven or somebody' - Paul McCartney

19 April 2011
11.49pm
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PennyLane
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mr. Sun king coming together said:

And you're surprised why exactly? It's Klein, the King of greed and stupidity. (No offense meant to PL). That was a shitty thing to do, changing sides.

Oh I'm not surprised. It was cold and low and real douchey. But thats the thing that stands out to me the most about the case. Some people are real a-holes.

Well we all shine on like the moon, the stars, and the sun.
19 April 2011
11.50pm
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mr. Sun king coming together
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vonbontee said:

Great article Mr. Sun, thanks for the link!

It's probably only fair that George had to surrender some royalties. Although that judge's methods used to determine the amounts struck me as far too unfair and punitive to George.

No Problem.

Just like the author, eh? I agree. Although it really is an inexact science. Welcome Back, BTW! (Go Canucks)

As if it matters how a man falls down.'

'When the fall's all that's left, it matters a great deal.

9 January 2012
2.02am
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vonbontee
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Useful addition to my longwinded post up there: I was just leafing through an anthology of old Rolling Stone reviews, and I found Ben Gerson's original (positive overall) review of All Things Must Pass from Jan. 7/71, in which he bluntly calls "My Sweet Lord" an "obvious rewrite" of the Chiffons song. So that better illustrates my point about the similarity being instantly apparent, at least to professional music reviewers.

I remember George saying 'Blimey, he's always talking about “Yesterday”, you'd think he was Beethoven or somebody' - Paul McCartney

9 January 2012
3.31am
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meanmistermustard
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Ive always found He's So Fine to far inferior so id agree with  Til There Was You. When my brother and i first heard about the case years ago we played both one after the other and the similarities were very noticable so its real surprise the lawsuit came. 

 It would be interesting to see what changed between Run For Your Life/Baby, Lets Play House where nothing happened even tho John stole two lines and Come Together/ You Cant Catch Me. Maybe if it had been in the mid 60's George would have gotten away with it. Was it only that whilst RFYL was only an album track CT and MSL were both hit singles?

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris) 

"Don't make your love suffer insecurities; Trade the baggage of "self" to set another one free" ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)

9 January 2012
8.27pm
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vonbontee
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Well, "Run For Your Life" only took a single line (or two, depending how your write it out) from "Baby Let's Play House", and none of the melody. (Also, I wouldn't be surprised if "I'd rather see you dead little girl..." had already first appeared in some other old blues song predating THAT one.) And whereas John was sued for a different two-line bit in "Come Together" - even though he didn't even take two lines word-for-word, although his phrasing of them was similar to Chuck Berry's - that case was settled out of court, so the result's not the same as HSF/MSL.

But those are interesting comparisons, because whereas both Lennon borrowings were deliberate enough to be considered homages, that's not the same as George remembering and old tune but forgetting that he remembered it, which is what I think happened. (And now that you mention it, I'll bet that releasing "Run For Your Life" as a big #1 hit single WOULD have made it more susceptible to an attempted lawsuit, even though I still don't think it would be warranted.)

I remember George saying 'Blimey, he's always talking about “Yesterday”, you'd think he was Beethoven or somebody' - Paul McCartney

9 January 2012
11.03pm
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The Walrus
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John earned a large amount for Berry's people by covering three songs for Rock And Roll. The agreement was to cover them for Walls And Bridges, but John forgot so rushed Rock And Roll.

And I neeeeeeeeed her all the time
10 January 2012
6.56pm
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Von Bontee
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Heh...everybody was doing "oldies" albums in those days, and they all did a Chuck Berry song or two! But it was really Morris Levy, music mogul/gangster, who launched that lawsuit - he owned the publishing rights. I doubt that Berry was even aware of "Come Together".

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
11 January 2012
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McLennonSon
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mr. Sun king coming together said:

George was sued in 1971 for supposedly stealing part of the Chiffons hit He's So Fine. (Note: I'll post videos of the respective songs in about 10 minutes. as well, I just found an allumingating article which I will share as well.) He was forced to pay about $600,000 because of it. My question is, right call? Was it subconscious plagiarism?

No. It was only one chord progression he stole, the ii-V in the verses.

 

He's So Fine in the ''chorus'' has only a I chord, but ''My Sweet Lord'' has the repeat of I-vi in the choruses.

 

It wasn't plagiarism, get over it Chiffons fans.

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