Forty five years ago this Tuesday, August 31st, 1976,George Harrison was found guilty of "subconsciously plagiarizing" The Chiffons' "He's So Fine" in writing "My Sweet Lord." The decision cost him almost $600,000 in royalties.
The first track off his triple-LP, 1970'sAll Things Must Pass, he says he was inspired to write it after a visit to India and reading a book by Swami Gaudiya Vaishnava.
And he said his goal was to come up with an upbeat, catchy tune like the Edwin Hawkins Singers' 1967 version of the 18th century hymn, "Oh Happy Day."
While August 31st is the anniversary of the initial ruling in the plagiarism case, the numerous appeals lasted years.
The Harrison estate still retains the rights to "My Sweet Lord," as well as "He's So Fine," which Harrison purchased to prevent anyone else from making future royalty claims.
"My Sweet Lord" was the first solo number-one single by a member of The Beatles, and it was nominated for Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards in 1972. It lost to Carole King's "It's Too Late."
Harrison recorded "My Sweet Lord" at Abbey Road Studios in London. Among the musicians who played on it were Eric Clapton, Gary Wright, Billy Preston, an uncredited Peter Frampton, Ringo Starr, bassist Klaus Voorman, Badfinger, and Derek and the Dominos drummer Jim Gordon.