Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Chiffons--He's So Fine (1963)

     The Chiffons was a girl group in the early/mid 60's and consisting of Judy Craig, Patricia Bennett, Barbara Lee, and Sylvia Peterson. "He's So Fine" was written by Ronald Mack, who was responsible for helping the group get their start. The song went all the way to number 1, and it's follow-up, the Goffen-King song, "One Fine Day" reached the top ten as well. They continued for another few years stacking up hits. However, the story of  "He's So Fine" was far from over.
     In early 1971, Bright Tunes, who owned the rights to the song, sued George Harrison for plagiarism in his use of the tune in his, "My Sweet Lord". It wasn't until 1976 that the court decided in favor of the publishing company, the suit in it's entirety wasn't wrapped up until the mid-80's, but the court's verdict held. The court found him guilty of "unintentional plagiarism", which is an interesting term for the layman, but makes perfect sense to the musician. Most artists gain inspiration from others. It might be the subject of a lyric, a small riff, or a chord pattern.  From where I sit, Harrison (deliberate or not) took a bit too much liberty in borrowing from another song. Despite all of that, Harrison's, "My Sweet Lord" has never diminished in greatness.....nor has "He's So Fine"


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