This is far from being George Harrison
's only religious
song, for Mr. Harrison was heavily into Krishna
and Eastern mysticism
for some time before this song was written.
It was released in 1970 as the first single from All Things Must Pass, his first solo album. But the thing about this song that is probably the most remembered is that it led to a court case.
The publishers of the song "He's So Fine", recorded in 1963 by the Chiffons and scoring a minor hit for them, brought Harrison to court on charges of copyright infringment; the song was seemingly too similar in melody, rhythm, and phrasing to the earlier hit for it to be a coincidence.
The song was written in 1969, based on a jam by Harrison and Billy Preston, with Preston supplying the basic theme of the song (the call and response parts in the lyrics). The pair probably didn't realise from where the idea might have come.
The judge took this all into account, and found Harrison guilty, judging that 75% of the song's popularity (and the royalties received as a result) was due to the popularity of the earlier song, and that
"(Harrison's) subconscious knew it already had worked in a song his conscious did not remember... That is, under the law, infringement of copyright, and is no less so even though subconsciously accomplished."
--from the judge's ruling
That's right, folks
, you can be guilty of copyright infringement
without even realising it.
http://www.copyrightwebsite.com/audio/harrison/harrison.asp offers sound samples of the two songs, so that the listener may determine the similarity for his/herself.