«My Sweet Lord» is a song by English musician George Harrison, released in November 1970 on his triple album All Things Must Pass. It was also released as a single, Harrison’s first as a solo artist, and topped charts worldwide; it was the biggest-selling single of 1971 in the UK. In America and Britain, the song was the first number-one single by an ex-Beatle. Harrison originally gave the song to his fellow Apple Records artist Billy Preston to record; this version, which Harrison co-produced, appeared on Preston’s Encouraging Words album in September 1970.
Harrison wrote «My Sweet Lord» in praise of the Hindu god Krishna, while intending the lyrics as a call to abandon religious sectarianism through his blending of the Hebrew word hallelujah with chants of «Hare Krishna» and Vedic prayer. The recording features producer Phil Spector‘s Wall of Sound treatment and heralded the arrival of Harrison’s slide guitar technique, which one biographer described as «musically as distinctive a signature as the mark of Zorro«. Preston, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and the group Badfinger are among the other musicians on the recording.
Later in the 1970s, «My Sweet Lord» was at the centre of a heavily publicised copyright infringement suit due to its alleged similarity to the Ronnie Mack song «He’s So Fine«, a 1963 hit for the New York girl group the Chiffons. In 1976, Harrison was found to have subconsciously plagiarised the song, a verdict that had repercussions throughout the music industry. Rather than the Chiffons song, he said he used the out-of-copyright Christian hymn «Oh Happy Day» as his inspiration for the melody.
Harrison performed «My Sweet Lord» at the Concert for Bangladesh in August 1971, and it remains the most popular composition from his post-Beatles career. He reworked it as «My Sweet Lord (2000)» for inclusion as a bonus track on the 30th anniversary reissue of All Things Must Pass. Many artists have covered the song, including Andy Williams, Peggy Lee, Edwin Starr, Johnny Mathis, Nina Simone, Julio Iglesias, Richie Havens, Megadeth, Boy George, Elton John, Jim James, Bonnie Bramlett and Elliott Smith. «My Sweet Lord» was ranked 454th on Rolling Stone‘s list of «the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time» in 2004 and number 270 on a similar list published by the NME in 2014. That same year, «My Sweet Lord» was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. It reached number one in Britain again when re-released in January 2002, two months after Harrison’s death.
More info: My Sweet Lord – Wikipedia