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My Sweet Lord vs. He's So Fine
11 January 2012
2.55pm
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vonbontee
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It's more about the vocal melody than the chord progression.

GEORGE: In fact, The Detroit Sound. JOHN: In fact, yes. GEORGE: In fact, yeah. Tamla-Motown artists are our favorites. The Miracles. JOHN: We like Marvin Gaye. GEORGE: The Impressions, Marvin Gaye. PAUL & GEORGE: Mary Wells. GEORGE: The Exciters. RINGO: Chuck Jackson. JOHN: To name but eighty. 

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12 January 2012
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meanmistermustard
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The Beach Boys record label threatened Katy Perry, or her representatives, with legal action over her single 'California Girls' as they felt it was synonymous with their own song and that one of the lines was very similar to the other. Barmy to say the least. There are too many laywers and executives in the music business who are only interested in making a buck. Apple are great at issuing legal action at the merest hint of beatle copyright being used infringed. Its one thing to protect your interests but not to the point of killing creativity. The beatles were always stealing melodies, chords and lyrics from other artists.

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12 January 2012
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Von Bontee
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"Good Artists Borrow, Great Artists Steal"

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Oudis

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12 January 2012
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Joe
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I agree with vonbontee. It's all about "My sweet lord/Oh my lord" versus "He's so fine/Wish he were mine". Also, the melody of the doo-lang-doo-lang vocals aren't dissimilar from the repeated "Hallelujah/Hare rama" etc. I bet Spector knew about the similarity all along, even if Harrison had forgotten about the Chiffons' song.

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4 August 2014
6.42am
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Oudis
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Does anybody know anything about George’s reaction to the accusation of plagiarism? Did he ever say anything to the press, make any statement? I’d like to know how he felt about the whole thing. I guess it must have been tough for him.

Oudis.

Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit” (“Perhaps one day it will be a pleasure to look back on even this”; Virgil, The Aeneid, Book 1, line 203, where Aeneas says this to his men after the shipwreck that put them on the shores of Africa)

4 August 2014
10.43am
Wigwam
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He nicked it……. It's a shame and a real blot on his reputation. He did so much good stuff of his own……but it just makes you wonder what else he pinched.

 

 

There're lots of 'ripped off song compilations' on you tube……..Beach Boys and Chuck Berry etc……...

 

To add something new I've always though Rufus Thomas' 'Walking the Dog' and Jimi Hendrix's 'Purple Haze' have some things in common.   

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Oudis
4 August 2014
1.27pm
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robert
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It seems impossible to me that whether George realized the similarities at first or not when he first wrote it, that by the time they were playing it, arranging it, recording it, mixing it, etc - especially with Phil Spector there, and the Beatles having noted the Chiffons as among their favorite girl groups, plus add the inside joke of "My Sweet Lord - He's so Fine" there is NO WAY someone didn't bring it to George's attention - and either they blew it off or thought it might worth the publicity.

IN 1980 Lennon is quoted as saying "[George] walked right into it. He knew what he was doing...[he] could have changed a few bars in that song and nobody could have ever touched him, but he just let it go and paid the price. Maybe he thought God would just sort of let him off."

By the time the song came George knew - it's my opinion - but I think it's what happened.

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4 August 2014
1.54pm
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meanmistermustard
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If you say that its a shame on his repution @Wigwam then surely the same applies to the Beatles (who nicked stuff from all over the place), John, who even got sued and had to record three tracks as recompense over his use of "Here comes old flat-top", and every artist who's ever done such a thing as it happens all the time in music. One of The Verve's best know hits 'Bittersweet Symphony' was based so much on an instrumental version of The Rolling Stones 'The Last Time' that they didnt bother with the court case instead just handing over 100% of the song-writing royalties. Some get away with it others dont.

 

As for George's reaction to it all, he got fed-up with the court case, which dragged on for years and is as complicated as complicated can be (Allen Klein plays a huge part), and sick with the taste of it all but drew some solace in the knowledge that the track brought and meant so much to so many people. He eventually re-recorded it for the 'All Things Must Pass ' Reissue in 2000. 

I'd heartily recommend anyone interested in the whole debacle listen to Fab4Free4All's podcast episode on the coutcase - 'My Sweet Lawsuit' - for all the details (scroll down the linked page to episode #55 or find it on itunes). I've listened to it twice and still find it confusing.

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4 August 2014
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Zig
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meanmistermustard said

If you say that its a shame on his repution @Wigwam then surely the same applies to the Beatles (who nicked stuff from all over the place), John, who even got sued and had to record three tracks as recompense over his use of "Here comes old flat-top",

That one always frosted me when Chuck Berry's camp sued John over that. Especially when Berry was a bit of a nicker himself - how do you think Carl Perkins felt when he heard the line "don't you step on my blue suede shoes" in Berry's 'Roll Over Beethoven '. It happens tons. To say it's a shame and a blot on George's reputation, is a bit over the top. If that was really the case, then consider most composers shamed and blotted.

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5 August 2014
3.09am
Wigwam
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You'll not hear me defend any pinchers on what they pinched. John and Dylan and 100's more included. I still like George. Just a case of recognizing the fact and moving on.

'My Sweet Lord " remains a great song. Not many big hits have you waiting for a couple of minutes, whatever it is, for the drums to come in.

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Zig, Beatlebug
11 March 2015
1.37pm
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meanmistermustard
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More copyright infringements. Pharrels Williams and Robin Thicke found guilty of breaching the copyright of Marvin Gaye's 'Got To Give It Up' and ordered to pay $7.3m. Recently Sam Smith was ordered to pay royalties to Tom Petty for similarities between 'Stay With Me' and 'I Won't Back Down'.

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11 March 2015
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Ron Nasty
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Sam Smith was not "ordered" to do anything. An amicable arrangement was reached before even a preliminary case was filed. A much nicer way to handle this type of dispute.

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11 March 2015
2.32pm
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meanmistermustard
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I read somewhere he was ordered to. I happily retract all comments saying such and beseech forgiveness.

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

11 March 2015
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Bongo
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meanmistermustard said
More copyright infringements. Pharrels Williams and Robin Thicke found guilty of breaching the copyright of Marvin Gaye's 'Got To Give It Up' and ordered to pay $7.3m. Recently Sam Smith was ordered to pay royalties to Tom Petty for similarities between 'Stay With Me' and 'I Won't Back Down'.

Reminds me of the Led Zeppelin songs! Man, did they outright steal some good old blues!
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11 March 2015
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trcanberra
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robert said
It seems impossible to me that whether George realized the similarities at first or not when he first wrote it, that by the time they were playing it, arranging it, recording it, mixing it, etc - especially with Phil Spector there, and the Beatles having noted the Chiffons as among their favorite girl groups, plus add the inside joke of "My Sweet Lord - He's so Fine" there is NO WAY someone didn't bring it to George's attention - and either they blew it off or thought it might worth the publicity.

IN 1980 Lennon is quoted as saying "[George] walked right into it. He knew what he was doing...[he] could have changed a few bars in that song and nobody could have ever touched him, but he just let it go and paid the price. Maybe he thought God would just sort of let him off."

By the time the song came George knew - it's my opinion - but I think it's what happened.

I tend to agree with this interpretation. They should have just added the original author of the song in to the credits like the Beach Boys did with Surfin' USA; but with all the fuss over royalties and George's well-known love for the cash maybe he hoped to get away with it.

There have been suggestions in this thread that the songs are not too similar or it might take a professional musician or reviewer to note the similarities. Nonsense, the songs are VERY similar even to the casual listener. I think it's a shame that one of George's biggest hit songs has this cloud over it now, though it's never been one I liked all that much.

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11 March 2015
9.26pm
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meanmistermustard
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trcanberra said
There have been suggestions in this thread that the songs are not too similar or it might take a professional musician or reviewer to note the similarities. Nonsense, the songs are VERY similar even to the casual listener. I think it's a shame that one of George's biggest hit songs has this cloud over it now, though it's never been one I liked all that much.

Would agree with this and same goes for 'Got My Mind Set On You'. Both songs that have never appealed to me, pleasant enough but nothing to get excited by. Then again 'He's So Fine' is not very good either.

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11 March 2015
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trcanberra
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meanmistermustard said

trcanberra said
There have been suggestions in this thread that the songs are not too similar or it might take a professional musician or reviewer to note the similarities. Nonsense, the songs are VERY similar even to the casual listener. I think it's a shame that one of George's biggest hit songs has this cloud over it now, though it's never been one I liked all that much.

Would agree with this and same goes for 'Got My Mind Set On You'. Both songs that have never appealed to me, pleasant enough but nothing to get excited by. Then again 'He's So Fine' is not very good either.

Same with you on that song as well. It's my least favourite song off that album.

At least he decided to use the original 'as is', maybe he learnt his lesson :)

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11 March 2015
9.38pm
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meanmistermustard
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Yeah, definitely the worst track on 'Cloud Nine' and by quite a distance.

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

12 March 2015
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Matt Busby
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meanmistermustard said

trcanberra said
There have been suggestions in this thread that the songs are not too similar or it might take a professional musician or reviewer to note the similarities. Nonsense, the songs are VERY similar even to the casual listener. I think it's a shame that one of George's biggest hit songs has this cloud over it now, though it's never been one I liked all that much.

Would agree with this and same goes for 'Got My Mind Set On You'. Both songs that have never appealed to me, pleasant enough but nothing to get excited by. Then again 'He's So Fine' is not very good either.

I agree with everything quoted, except I like My Sweet Lord .  It's actually one of my fave George songs.  Regardless of from whom he copied the declining chord sequence (can you have two prepositions modifying a noun?).

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12 March 2015
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I have a history of not particularly liking the main songs artists are known by for example 'Bohemian Rhapsody', 'Imagine ', 'Dancing Queen', 'Peggy Sue', 'Wonderwall', 'Oh, Pretty Woman ', whatever Coldplay are best known for.

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