George harrison - my sweet lord

George harrison - my sweet lord
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George harrison - my sweet lord

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Description

"<strong>My Sweet Lord</strong>" is a song by former <a href="http://www.last.fm/music/+noredirect/Beatles" class="bbcode_artist">Beatles</a> lead guitarist George Harrison from his UK number one hit triple album All Things Must Pass. The song is primarily about Hindu God <em>Krishna</em>. It is ranked #454 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time."

<strong>Writing and recording</strong>

The song was originally intended for <a href="http://www.last.fm/music/Billy+Preston" class="bbcode_artist">Billy Preston</a>, who had a minor hit with it in early 1970, in his album <a title="Billy Preston - Encouraging Words" href="http://www.last.fm/music/Billy+Preston/Encouraging+Words" class="bbcode_album">Encouraging Words</a>. It was written in December 1969, when Harrison and Billy Preston were in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The recording of the song took place in London. Preston was the principal musician while Harrison was engineering the sessions.

<strong>Single release</strong>

When released as a single, "My Sweet Lord" topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. In October, 1970, Harrison told the British press that it was going to be his first solo single, but a few days later he changed his mind and said it would not be made available thus, as he did not want sales in that format to detract from those of the album. (The other three former Beatles had also released solo albums earlier that year, without releasing a single in Britain from any of them). It was released as a single in the US (Apple 2995) on 23 November 1970. Within a few weeks, EMI and Apple Records bowed to media and public demand, and the UK release (Apple R 5884) followed on 15 January 1971.

Entering the British charts in the first week at #7 and then hitting the summit for five weeks, it was the first single by an ex-Beatle to reach #1. It did so again in the UK when reissued in January 2002 after Harrison's death from cancer. It reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 on 26 December 1970, remaining on top for four weeks.

In Britain, the original single was officially a double-A Side with "What Is Life". In the US it was a double-A-side with "Isn't It A Pity"- with both sides featuring a full Apple label.

<strong>Legal controversy</strong>

Following the song's release, musical similarities between "My Sweet Lord" and <a href="http://www.last.fm/music/The+Chiffons" class="bbcode_artist">The Chiffons</a>' hit "<a title="The Chiffons – He's So Fine" href="http://www.last.fm/music/The+Chiffons/_/He%27s+So+Fine" class="bbcode_track">He's So Fine</a>" led to a lengthy legal battle over the rights to the composition. Billboard magazine, in an article dated 6 March 1971, stated that Harrison's royalty payments from the recording had been halted worldwide. Harrison stated that he was inspired to write "My Sweet Lord" after hearing the <a href="http://www.last.fm/music/+noredirect/Edwin+Hawkins+Singers" class="bbcode_artist">Edwin Hawkins Singers</a>' "<a title="Edwin Hawkins Singers – Oh Happy Day" href="http://www.last.fm/music/+noredirect/Edwin+Hawkins+Singers/_/Oh+Happy+Day" class="bbcode_track">Oh Happy Day</a>"
.
In the U.S. federal court decision in the case, known as Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music, Harrison was found to have unintentionally copied the earlier song. He was ordered to surrender the majority of royalties from "My Sweet Lord" and partial royalties from All Things Must Pass. Former manager Allen Klein, who earlier had supported Harrison's case, became the owner of Bright Tunes, after they parted ways. In the long run this worked against Klein, but it resulted in the case continuing for years in court. Interestingly Harrison claimed in a BBC interview with Annie Nightingale that the Judge in the case said that he liked Harrison's version of "My Sweet Lord" more.

The Chiffons would later record "My Sweet Lord" to capitalize on the publicity generated by the lawsuit.
Shortly thereafter, Harrison (who would eventually buy the rights to "He's So Fine") wrote and recorded a song about the court case named "This Song", which includes "This song, there's nothing 'Bright' about it." "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" and "Rescue Me" are also mentioned in the record.

<strong>Vaisnava Hindu prayers</strong>

Early in the song, the background singers repeat the Christian and Jewish word of praise, "Hallelujah". Later, the background singers chant two Vaisnava Hindu prayers:
<span>Hare Krishna/Hare Krishna/Krishna Krishna/Hare Hare/Hare Rama/Hare Rama</span>
This prayer consists of part of the principal mantra of devotees of the Gaudiya Vaisnavite faith, popularised in the Western world by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), colloquially known as the 'Hare Krishnas'. Harrison was a devotee of this religious path.

The mantra in full is <span>Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare.
Gurur Brahmā, gurur Viṣṇur, gurur devo Maheśvaraḥ
gurus sākṣāt paraṃ Brahma, tasmai śrī gurave namaḥ</span>
This prayer is chanted by Hindu devotees prior to beginning any action, after hymns to Ganesha and Sarasvati. The prayer is dedicated to the spiritual teacher of the devotee which is equalled with the Hindu Trinity Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva (Maheshvara) and with the Supreme Cosmic Spirit or Absolute Reality (Brahman). The prayer translates as:
<span>The teacher is Brahmā, the teacher is Viṣṇu, the teacher is the Lord Maheśvara, Verily the teacher is the supreme Brahman, to that respected teacher I bow down.</span>
The prayer is the first verse of the Guru stotram, a fourteen verse hymn dedicated to the spiritual teacher.
During his live performances of "My Sweet Lord", Harrison tried to engage his audience into the practice of "chanting the holy names of the Lord" (kirtan):

Breaking into the thundering rhythm guitar intro to “My Sweet Lord,” Harrison would soon begin to invite the cheering, largely stoned crowd to “chant the holy name of the Lord.” Few responded. Switching messiahs midstream, he would then rocket into the famous Krishna Hallelujah chorus and begin singing, “Om Christ, Om Christ, Om Christ” over and over, adding, “I know a lot of you out there think that’s swearing, but it’s not! If we all chant together purely for one minute, we’ll blow the roof off this place.

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Tags

classic rock | 70s | george harrison | rock | british