Tag: Beatles

Song Lyric Sunday – My Sweet Lord

The prompts for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday are Delightful, Pleasant and Sweet suggested by our friend Paula from Light Motifs. It wouldn’t surprise me if we have some repeats again this week as there are a lot of songs with the word ’Sweet’ in the title. I was spoilt for choice but I have picked a favorite, ”My Sweet Lord” by George Harrison. I will never get tired of hearing it. There is a lot of history behind this song so I hope you enjoy reading about it too.

The Song

This was Harrison’s first single as a solo artist, and it was his biggest hit. The song is about the Eastern religions he was studying.

Highly unusual for a hit song, Harrison repeats part of a Hindu mantra in the lyric when he sings, “Hare Krishna… Krishna, Krishna.” When set to music, this mantra is typically part of a chant that acts as a call to the Lord. Harrison interposes it with a Christian call to faith: “Hallelujah” – he was pointing out that “Hallelujah and Hare Krishna are quite the same thing.”

In the documentary The Material World, Harrison explains: “First, it’s simple. The thing about a mantra, you see… mantras are, well, they call it a mystical sound vibration encased in a syllable. It has this power within it. It’s just hypnotic.”


In 1971, Bright Tunes Music sued Harrison because this sounded too much like the 1963 Chiffons hit “He’s So Fine.” Bright Tunes was controlled by The Tokens, who set it up when they formed the production company that recorded “He’s So Fine” – they owned the publishing rights to the song.

During the convoluted court case, Harrison explained how he composed the song: He said that in December 1969, he was playing a show in Copenhagen, Denmark, with the group Delaney and Bonnie, whose piano player was Billy Preston (who contributed to some Beatles recordings). Harrison said that he started writing the song after a press conference when he slipped away and started playing some guitar chords around the words “Hallelujah” and “Hare Krishna.” He then brought the song to the band, who helped him work it out as he came up with lyrics. When he returned to London, Harrison worked on Billy Preston’s album Encouraging Words. They recorded the song for the album, which was released on Apple Records later in 1970, and Harrison filed a copyright application for the melody, words and harmony of the song. Preston’s version remained an album cut, and it was Harrison’s single that was the huge hit and provoked the lawsuit, which was filed on February 10, 1971, while the song was still on the chart.

In further testimony, Harrison claimed he got the idea for “My Sweet Lord” from The Edwin Hawkins Singers’ “Oh Happy Day,” not “He’s So Fine.”

When the case was filed, Harrison’s manager was Allen Klein, who negotiated with Bright Tunes on his behalf. The case was delayed when Bright Tunes went into receivership, and was not heard until 1976. In the meantime, Harrison and Klein parted ways in bitter fashion, and Klein began consulting Bright Tunes. Harrison offered to settle the case for $148,000 in January 1976, but the offer was rejected and the case brought to court.

The trial took place February 23-25, with various expert witnesses testifying. The key to the case was the musical pattern of the two songs, which were both based on two musical motifs: “G-E-D” and “G-A-C-A-C.” “He’s So Fine” repeated both motifs four times, “My Sweet Lord” repeated the first motif four times and the second motif three times. Harrison couldn’t identify any other songs that used this exact pattern, and the court ruled that “the two songs are virtually identical.” And while the judge felt that Harrison did not intentionally copy “My Sweet Lord,” that was not a defense – thus Harrison was on the hook writing a similar song without knowing it. Harrison was found guilty of “subconscious plagiarism” in a verdict handed down on August 31, 1976.

Assessing damages in the case, the judge determined that “My Sweet Lord” represented 70% of the airplay of the All Things Must Pass album, and came up with a total award of about $1.6 million. However, in 1978 Allen Klein’s company ABKCO purchased Bright Tunes for $587,000, which prompted Harrison to sue. In 1981, a judge decided that Klein should not profit from the judgment, and was entitled to only the $587,000 he paid for the company – all further proceeds from the case had to be remitted back to Harrison. The case dragged on until at least 1993, when various administrative matters were finally settled.

The case was a burden for Harrison, who says he tried to settle but kept getting dragged back to court by Bright Tunes. After losing the lawsuit, he became more disenfranchised with the music industry, and took some time off from recording – after his 1976 album Thirty Three & 1/3, he didn’t release another until his self-titled album in 1979. He told Rolling Stone, “It’s difficult to just start writing again after you’ve been through that. Even now when I put the radio on, every tune I hear sounds like something else.”

This was recorded at Abbey Road studios using the same equipment The Beatles used. There were some familiar faces at the sessions who had contributed to Beatles albums, including John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Billy Preston and Eric Clapton. Bobby Whitlock was friends with Harrison and Clapton, and played keyboards on the album. When Songfacts spoke with Whitlock, he shared his thoughts:

“That whole session was great. George Harrison, what a wonderful man. All the time that I ever knew him, which was from 1969 to his passing, he was a wonderful man. He included everyone on everything he did because there was enough for all.”

Whitlock adds, “All during the sessions, the door would pop open and in would spring three or four or five Hare Krishnas in their white robes and shaved heads with a pony tail coming out the top. They were all painted up, throwing rose petals and distributing peanut butter cookies.”

This was the first #1 hit for any Beatle after the band broke up. Harrison became the first Beatle to release a solo album when he issued Wonderwall Music, the soundtrack to the movie Wonderwall, in 1968.

When this song was released, the phrase “Hare Krishna” was associated with a religious group called the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, whose members would often approach passengers in airports, seeking donations and trying to solicit members. Individuals in this group became popularly known as “Hare Krishnas,” with a generally negative connotation.

The Lyrics

My sweet Lord
Mm, my Lord
Mm, my Lord

I really want to see you
Really want to be with you
Really want to see you, Lord
But it takes so long, my Lord

My sweet Lord
Mm, my Lord
Mm, my Lord

I really want to know you
Really want to go with you
Really want to show you, Lord
That it won't take long, my Lord

(Hallelujah)
My sweet Lord
(Hallelujah)
Mm my Lord
(Hallelujah)
My sweet Lord
(Hallelujah)

Really wanna see you
Really wanna see you
Really wanna see you, Lord
Really wanna see you, Lord
But it takes so long, my Lord

(Hallelujah)
My sweet Lord
(Hallelujah)
Mm, my Lord
(Hallelujah)
My my my Lord
(Hallelujah)

I really wanna know you
(Hallelujah)
Really wanna go with you
(Hallelujah)
Really wanna show you, Lord
That it won't take long, my Lord
(Hallelujah)

Mmm
(Hallelujah)
My sweet Lord
(Hallelujah)
My my Lord
(Hallelujah)

Mmm my Lord
(Hare Krishna)
My my my Lord
(Hare Krishna)
Oh my sweet Lord
(Krishna, Krishna)
Oohh
(Hare Hare)
Now I really wanna see you
(Hare Rama)
Really wanna be with you
(Hare Rama)
Really wanna see you, Lord
But it takes so long, my Lord
(Hallelujah)
Mmmm my Lord
(Hallelujah)
My my my Lord
(Hare Krishna)
My sweet Lord
(Hare Krishna)
My sweet Lord
(Krishna, Krishna)
My Lord
(Hare Hare)
Mmmm
(Gurur Brahma)
Mmmm
(Gurur Vishnu)
Mmmm
(Gurur Devo)
Mmmm
(Maheshwara)
My sweet Lord
(Gurur Sakshaat)
My sweet Lord
(Parabrahma)
My, my my Lord
(Tasmayi Shree)
My, my my my Lord
(Guruve Namah)
My sweet Lord
(Hare Rama)
(Hare Krishna)
My sweet Lord
(Hare Krishna)
My sweet Lord
(Krishna Krishna)

Writer/s: George Harrison 
Publisher: CONCORD and MUSIC PUBLISHING LLC, DistroKid
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Courtesy of Songfacts

Song Lyric Sunday – “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”

Song Lyric Sunday is hosted every week by Jim Adams. This Sunday he has prompted us with just the two letters “La”. It could be La-Dee-Da, or perhaps LA for Los Angeles or even La for Louisiana. Perhaps even Ooo-la-la and that song comes to mind. I have chosen to go with Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da by the Beatles from the 1968 White Album. It is a fun song and caused a bit of a stir in the 60s as they used the word “Bra” in the song! Well it did help with the rhyming!

It was written by Paul McCartney and credited to the Lennon–McCartney partnership. Following the album’s release, the song was issued as a single in many countries, although not in Britain or America, and topped singles charts in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and West Germany. When belatedly issued as a single in the United States in 1976, it peaked at number 49 on the Billboard Hot 100.

McCartney wrote “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” in the Jamaican ska style and appropriated a phrase popularized by Jimmy Scott, a London-based Nigerian musician, for the song’s title and chorus. Following its release, Scott attempted, unsuccessfully, to receive a composing credit. The recording sessions for the track were marked by disharmony as McCartney’s perfectionism tested his bandmates and their recording staff. The song was especially disliked by John Lennon and a heated argument during one of the sessions led to Geoff Emerick quitting his job as the Beatles’ recording engineer. A discarded early version of the track, featuring Scott on congas, was included on the band’s 1996 compilation Anthology 3.

The Beatles’ decision not to release the single in the UK or the US led to several cover recordings as other artists sought to achieve a chart hit with the song. Of these, Marmalade became the first Scottish group to have a number 1 hit in the UK when their version topped the Record Retailer chart in late 1968. Despite the song’s popularity, “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” has been ridiculed by some commentators for its lightheartedness. From 2009, McCartney has regularly performed the song in concert.

Paul McCartney began writing “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” during the Beatles’ stay in Rishikesh, India, in early 1968. Prudence Farrow, one of their fellow Transcendental Meditation students there, recalled McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison playing it to her in an attempt to lure her out of her room, where she had become immersed in intense meditation.

McCartney wrote the song when reggae was becoming popular in Britain; author Ian MacDonald describes it as “McCartney’s rather approximate tribute to the Jamaican ska idiom”. The character of Desmond in the lyrics, from the opening line “Desmond has a barrow in the market-place”, was a reference to reggae singer Desmond Dekker, who had recently toured the UK. The tag line “Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, bra” was an expression used by the aforementioned Jimmy Scott-Emuakpor. According to Scott’s widow, as part of his stage act with his band Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, Scott would call out “Ob la di”, to which the audience would respond “Ob la da”, and he would then conclude: “Life goes on.” 

Lyrics

Desmond has a barrow in the marketplace
Molly is the singer in a band
Desmond says to Molly, girl, I like your face
And Molly says this as she takes him by the hand

Ob la di, ob-la-da, life goes on, bra
La-la, how the life goes on
Ob-la di, ob-la-da, life goes on, bra
La-la, how the life goes on

Desmond takes a trolley to the jeweller's store
Buys a twenty carat golden ring
Takes it back to Molly waiting at the door
And as he gives it to her she begins to sing

Ob la di, ob-la-da, life goes on, bra
La-la, how the life goes on
Ob-la di, ob-la-da, life goes on, bra
La-la, how the life goes on

In a couple of years they have built
A home sweet home
With a couple of kids running in the yard
Of Desmond and Molly Jones

Happy ever after in the market place
Desmond lets the children lend a hand
Molly stays at home and does her pretty face
And in the evening she still sings it with the band

Ob la di, ob-la-da, life goes on, bra
La-la, how the life goes on
Ob-la di, ob-la-da, life goes on, bra
La-la, how the life goes on

In a couple of years they have built
A home sweet home
With a couple of kids running in the yard
Of Desmond and Molly Jones

Happy ever after in the market place
Molly lets the children lend a hand
Desmond stays at home and does his pretty face
And in the evening she's a singer with the band

Ob la di, ob-la-da, life goes on, bra
La-la, how the life goes on
Ob-la di, ob-la-da, life goes on, bra
La-la, how the life goes on

And if you want some fun, sing ob-la-di, bla-da

Writer/s: John Lennon, Paul McCartney 
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind


Backstory provided by Wiki
%d bloggers like this: