50 years of ‘My Sweet Lord’, Harrison’s Hindu-inspired hymn

Carlota Isiegas

London, Nov 22 (EFE) .- The ex-Beatle George Harrison’s classic ‘My Sweet Lord’ turns half a century after its successful appearance in 1970, still surrounded by the controversy of plagiarism accusations and the spiritual aura of its inspiration Hindu.

Harrison was known as the ‘quiet Beatle’ for his preference to stay away from fame, despite being a rock star, and for his interest in Hinduism, which began to mark his life after the American tour of the Beatles in 1966.

The guitarist from the Liverpool quartet released the hit single ‘My Sweet Lord’ on his first solo album ‘All Things Must Pass’ (1970), after the Beatles split.

The song, recorded at Abbey Road studios in London under the production of Phil Spector, featured musicians such as guitarist Eric Clapton and former Beatle Ringo Starr on drums.

The song became a great worldwide success and was positioned as the most praised theme of that first album. However, shortly after the musician was accused of plagiarism by the American songwriter and singer Ronnie Mack.

He accused him of having copied the musical composition of his song ‘He’s So Fine’, performed by the girl group The Chiffons.

The ex-Beatle denied the accusations and assured that his inspiration for the song was born, in any case, from ‘Oh happy day’, by The Edwin Hawkins Singers, and its links with Hindu and Christian religious songs.

However, in 1976 Harrison was found guilty of ‘unconscious plagiarism’ and had to pay a substantial fine to regain the rights to his great subject.

PROTAGONIST OF THE ‘BEATLEMANIA’

George Harrison, born into a Liverpool working-class family, joined the group then called Quarry Men in 1958, which two years later, with John Lennon at the helm, would change its name to The Beatles.

This precise moment marked a point in the history of music worldwide, something that those young people with such enthusiasm and passion could not imagine at that time.

A few years later, with their first successes in the market, the expression known as’ Beatlemania ’emerged in the United Kingdom, due to the great fame acquired by the group and its popularity, which exploded around the world with the single’ I Want to Hold Your Hand ‘.

The group led a British musical invasion in the United States, with various bands from the islands succeeding in that country.

Within a few years of those first singles, some of the band’s compositions took a turn precisely because of Harrison’s Indian inspirations, who introduced, among other innovations, the use of the sitar, an instrument that renewed the sound of the Beatles.

THE HINDUIST BEATLE

Harrison had his first contact with Hinduism in the mid-1960s, following a book on reincarnation given to the Beatles by a devotee of that religion in the Bahamas while they were filming the movie ‘Help!’

Years later, the entire band traveled to India to practice transcendental meditation, but none of them would be so deeply affected by this culture as Harrison.

One of the defining moments for the ex-Beatle’s spirituality was meeting the Hare Krishnas, a religious movement based on Hinduism, in the United States, which marked his life and work until the end of his days.

Not surprisingly, one of his greatest musical successes, ‘My Sweet Lord’, is a composition with which he tried to link the Christian ‘Hallelujah’ with Hare Krishna chants and Vedic prayers, with which the musician wanted to launch a call against religious sectarianism. EFE

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