My Sweet Lord – George Harrison

THIS DAY IN MUSIC……………………………………..on August 1st of 1971 the concert for Bangla Desh was staged to raise money for victims of famine and war in that country. The show featured George Harrison, with some help from his friends Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Ravi Shankar and some members of Bad Finger. The three disc live album from the show reached number 1 in the UK and number 2 in the US in 1972, as well as winning a Grammy Award for Album of the Year. The concerts, album and film raised nearly $11 million US for the impoverished people of the newly-independent nation of Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan. From that concert comes George Harrison’s song “My Sweet Lord” from his best selling LP “All Things Must Pass”. 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”. 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 we 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.” Phil Spector produced this and sang backup. With the blessing of Harrison and John Lennon (and over the objections of Paul McCartney), Spector produced the last Beatles album, Let It Be. “My Sweet Lord” topped both the US and UK Pop Charts.