I’m sure most of us remember the Chiffons, a girl group that had some big hits in the 1960s, including several that featured ‘fine’ in the title. Among them were “One Fine Day,” “A Love So Fine,” and the 1963 chart-topper, “He’s So Fine,” which was the group’s biggest hit — but would later be featured in a court case against ex-Beatle George Harrison.
Although the group’s name came a little later, the Chiffons actually started when Bronx high-schoolers Judy Craig, Patricia Bennett and Barbara Lee began performing as a trio. They eventually picked up some career advice from songwriter Ronald Mack, who not only steered them into adding Sylvia Peterson to the group, but also wrote “He’s So Fine,” the song that brought them stardom.
The Chiffons would sell a lot of records in the 1960s, and not all of them had ‘fine’ in the title — for example, “Sweet Talkin’ Guy” was a Top Ten hit — but it was “He’s So Fine” that would lead to controversy. When George Harrison’s 1970 record of “My Sweet Lord” became a hit, the Chiffons’ record company instigated a court action, claiming that he’d stolen the melody. It took a few years for the lawsuit to reach any conclusions, but the eventual judgement was that Harrison had inadvertently plagiarized the melody. However, financial penalties were further delayed and eventually dissolved when he bought the record company itself. (Ironically, the Chiffons would later make a record of Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord.”)
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