Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Sweet Lord






Do you remember the controversy over George Harrison's, "My Sweet Lord"and "He's So Fine?"George Harrison lost a lawsuit in 1976 when a judge said he "subconsciously plagiarized" his first single as a solo artist. He was ordered to pay Bright Tunes Music, who owned the copyright, $587,000. "He's so Fine" was recorded by "The Chiffons" and written my Ronald Mack who unfortunately, never got to appreciate its success because he died of cancer shortly after its release. Here's the Chiffon version of "He's So Fine":




I liked both versions and I didn't care if they were similar. I used to lie in my little bird's nest bedroom on the second story of our Michigan 1930's farm house and sleeplessly, listen to George Harrison. "My Sweet Lord" had a kind of devotional-spiritual influence on me. It suited by teenage moody musings, "They should stop bothering George...what's a Beatle to do when he's not in The Beatles anymore? Poor George. And that's such a great song, too." "He's So Fine" impacted me in another way. I remember my close friend, Jessica Simonson, who played first-row clarinet in the Huron High School band while I humbly sat in second, held up her hand and said to the band leader, "Pitt's can do it, Mr. Ludwig, "She can sing the song." And there ladies and gentlemen, the star was nearly born. We were going to recreate the Chiffon's version for a talent show featuring a bold but understated singer, me. When the night came and during the rehearsals to be more accurate, I would give my all pretending that I was confident and hoping that those brave feelings would somehow manifest. I was afraid nerves would make my voice waver and crack. The subdued but persistent, Mr. Ludwig, sitting in on electric guitar, raised the key slightly to make it fall within my strongest vocal range but I had trouble remembering which key I was singing in. So often, I had practiced with the record album (yes, they were called LP's and records) that I couldn't quite remember the new key. When we stood before the crowded auditorium complete with girl-group coordinated costumes, I knew my voice would give my nerves away. What to do? The music started, the show must go on, the backup girls, including Jessica, started singing, "Do-lang, do-lang, do-lang..." and I had to jump in at my cue,"He's so fine. Wish he were mine. That handsome boy over there. The boy with the wavy hair." I pointed to Russell, a cute, shy and smart boy that I didn't know at all. I was getting bold, now, "I don't know how I'm gonna do it but I'm gonna make him mine. He's the envy of all the girls. It's just a matter of time." Okay, there was a moment when my voice got overconfident and jumped back to The Chiffon's key, "Whoops, control, Pitts, control," I pulled myself back on key. Complete with dance steps and arm movements, we sang out, "He's so fine. Gotta be mine. Sooner or later. I hope it's not later. We gotta get together. The sooner, the better. I just can't wait. I just can't wait, to be held in his arms." And on it went...I've always had misgivings about the next verse, you know, the lyrics about being a queen and giving up my throne but I figured I didn't have to mean it to sing it. When our song ended, the students in the tightly packed gym loudly cheered. I was surprised. Didn't they hear me go off key? I guess there's something to be said in favor of gymnasium acoustics. A teacher came up to me and asked if I was going to become a professional singer. I was flattered. And that was it, just one more evening performance and my career as an imitation Chiffon ended.


Thank you tangobaby for triggering my memory with your George Harrison YouTube video posting. Also, readers, get some Puerto Rican Christmas "Feliz Navidad" spirit with her Jose Feliciano posting.


http://tangobaby2.blogspot.com/2008/12/some-jose-before-another-monday-morning.html

12 comments:

  1. Merry Christmas Cynthia and thank you for visiting French Essence. Have a wonderful holiday, xv.

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  2. Hi Vicki, I'm sure going to come back! I enjoyed your "French Essence" immensely! BTW did you read anything here?

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  3. Sorry Vicky, I wrote the wrong title to your blog, it's "French Fancy" not "French Essence". Readers go over and check out this fun read: http://frenchfancy.blogspot.com

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  4. Unbelievable! I'm sooooo sorry again, you are FRENCH ESSENCE, the lovely and elegant site with poetic and sincere musings. Sorry, I was writing too fast and thinking too little. Here's where to visit a visual feast: http://frenchessence.blogspot.com

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  5. Cynthia, you are really building up your webpage nicely! Very inspiring I must say. I truly enjoyed your story about your high school audition and The Chiffons performance. Looks like you've got the music in you as well, even if you prefer to keep it dormant until Albert pulls out the Karaoke machine.

    I remember the George Harrison lawsuit very well. If it weren't that he was a Beatle, I bet no one would have even noticed or pursued the matter. You know there are so many Blues songs with the same endless melody running through them and no one ever seems to get sued on that end. Must be because there isn't that much money to be made in that genre anyway.

    Have a great Christmas and send our love to the family. Feliz Navidad!!

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  6. Thanks for the OWL blog complements; I'm getting needy. And about George, so many melodies run through,into and at each other, it's a wonder that they don't crash more often. Sounds like driving in Puerto Rico!

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  7. It must have been fun to get that good response despite your nerves. You probably sounded far better than you thought. Happy Holidays!

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  8. One year while driving and listening to music, my five year old nephew said,"Aunt C., how come I sound so good in my head but when I sing, it comes out different?" I think my singing experience was a little like that! Thank you for visiting my blog, Sarah.
    My Christmas wish to everyone:
    May we all sing out and sound like the song we hear in our heads!

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  9. I popped over from Sweet Repose - Cynthia used to be such an uncommon name and I hear it all the time now! I'm from Michigan too - in Florida now and VERY glad to be here! A merry Christmas from one Cynthia to another!

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  10. Thank for coming over, Cynthia, and may your heart be immersed in Florida Sun-shine in the coming year ahead.

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  11. A post from a do-langer, setting the record straight: I was there, behind Cynthia, watching and listening and appreciating. She was awesome as a performer, especially in those circumstances. She went all Motown, all Vegas on us, there in that ratty gym, that dim gym with the big unsmiling Huron chieftain, and we loved it. it seemed so filled with promise--for her, and for us by extension. To Pitts: I sometime wonder what possessed Mr. Ludwig to put all that energy into that Fifties show. All I can do is be thankful that he did. That was one of those things I will always remember . . . sort of like when you got me to become a flag girl, when being a flag girl was not in my DNA. I thank God that I knew you then--that you helped me through those years. Ask my husband how many times I have wondered aloud what happened to you . . . He knows you as the girl with the red pickup truck--like a Tarot card image.

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  12. Do-langer,J, what a treat for your to come over here and set the record straight! Over time I came to think that the sucess of the performance was probably mostly imagined...it's good that we shared the fantasy together!

    A flag girl, not in your DNA indeed?! You were fabulous in your cute red and white skirt and blouse! And you learned the last minute routines so quickly. Remember our matching red and white shoes? What color were the flags??? Red and white! We were the picture of candy-cane sweetness. :-)

    I think we motivated each other...I encouraged you to be more adventurous...and you gave me confidence to be bold. I had forgotten all about my red truck...remember when we would go out for coffee instead of school...and you still maintained your 4.0! Clever girl! Thank you for finding me. I'm glad we're back in touch. <3

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