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.