George Harrison: “My Sweet Lord” (1970)

[Kronomyth 3.01]
He’s So Fined.

There’s a short, engaging article by Bill Demain on Performing Songwriter that covers the legal travails of George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord,” which I would encourage you to read. I would discourage you from reading the comments after it, since The Beatles tend to attract trolls. The song itself is a complex paradox: an affirmation of God, accused of theft, that made its owner no money but remains his best-selling single. Sounds like the makings of a good riddle, doesn’t it? Rolling Stone ranked it #454 in its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, the only Harrison solo song to make their list (although “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Something” appear much higher in the list). In the US, the B side was “Isn’t It A Pity” in its full seven-minute incarnation. As a boy, I bought this single and was turned off by “Isn’t It A Pity.” It seemed depressing and in sore need of editing. Thus, I waited years before buying All Things Must Pass for fear that the entire set would be more Pity-full than sweet. I was wrong, of course, but fearful of the investment that a triple-record set represented. In retrospect, I should have passed on Sentimental Journey and Beaucoups of Blues and pooled the money for ATMP instead. Thirty years later, George recorded a new version of “My Sweet Lord,” with the proceeds going to various charities.

7-inch single version
A1. My Sweet Lord (George Harrison) (4:39)
B1. Isn’t It A Pity (George Harrison) (7:10)

7-inch single version (UK)
A1. My Sweet Lord (George Harrison)
B1. What Is Life (George Harrison)

7-inch EP version
A1. My Sweet Lord (George Harrison)
A2. If Not For You (Bob Dylan)
B1. Art of Dying (George Harrison)
B2. Apple Scruffs (George Harrison)

7-inch single version (Tip Top)
A1. My Sweet Lord (4:30)
B1. Original From The Film: Love Story
B2. Them From The Film*

*Yes, that should be “Theme.”

The Plastic
Released on 7-inch single on November 23, 1970 in the US (Apple, 2995), on January 15, 1971 in the UK (Apple, R5884), in 1970 in France (Apple, 2C 006 04692), Germany (Apple, 1C 006 92053) and Norway (Apple, 2995) and in 1971 in India (Apple, 2995) and Japan (Apple, AR-2175) with picture sleeve; reached #1 on the US charts (charted on November 28, 1970 for 14 weeks) and #1 on the UK charts. Note that label variations exist for the US single that display the title on the top left or under the hole, which may indicate a reissue (I haven’t sorted it out yet).

  1. Re-released on four-track 7-inch EP in 1971 in Mexico (Apple, EPEM-10555).
  2. Re-issued on three-track 7-inch single in Iran (Tip Top, P-263) with different tracks on the B side.
  3. Re-issued on 7-inch single in Japan (EMI Odeon, EAS-17258) with unique picture sleeve.
  4. Re-issued on 7-inch single in 1976 in the UK (Apple, R5884) and the US (Capitol, 2995) {red label w. Capitol in gold}.
  5. Re-issued on 7-inch single in the US (Capitol, 2995) {maroon label}.
  6. Re-issued on 7-inch single in the 1970s in the US and Canada (Capitol, 2995) {purple label}.
  7. Re-issued on 7-inch single in the US (Capitol, 2995) {rainbow outer band label}.

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