On April 17, 1971 all 4 Beatles had solo singles in the UK charts with “Power To The People” by John, “Another Day” by Paul, “My Sweet Lord” by George, and “It Don’t Come Easy” by Ringo. It seems appropriate with Easter falling on April 17th this year to feature a playlist containing the song “My Sweet Lord” with Lord connecting with the religious aspect of the holiday, and Sweet to the secular celebration with the Easter Bunny and candy. The theme of the playlist is songs containing the word “Sweet” in their title.
Harrison’s song was the first solo No.1 by a former Beatle. He originally gave the song to Billy Preston to record. This video version with Preston singing vocals features Eric Clapton, Jeff Lynne (of ELO fame), Dhani Harrison (George’s son) on guitars, with Paul McCartney on piano and Ringo Starr on drums.
Harrison’s song however does not reference the Judeo-Christian God Yaweh, but instead is in celebration of the Hindu god Krishna. Featured on Harrison’s studio version are Preston, Ringo, Clapton, and Badfinger. The song was one of Harrison and Preston’s favorites.
“My Sweet Lord” became the target of a copyright infringement lawsuit due to similarities to the 1963 Chiffons hit “He’s So Fine”. Harrison denied intentionally plagiarizing, though admitted to subconsciously lifting some of the melody was possible. He admitted to borrowing some melodic lines from the out-of-copyright Christian hymn “Oh Happy Day.” You be the judge:
“My Sweet Lord” superimposed with “He’s So Fine”:
“My Sweet Lord” and “Oh Happy Day” mashup:
While a few songs on the playlist don’t include the word “Sweet” in their title or lyrics, they seemed appropriate to include, for as a child, to me they were the epitome of sweets and treats. I looked forward to watching “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” every year when it came on TV, back in the day before streaming, Blu-ray, DVD, and even VCR tapes. I actually played Charlie in our 5th grade class production of “Charlie & The Chocolate Factory” (the original title of Ronald Dahl’s book, with Willy Wonka becoming the marketable feature of the movie thus the name change), perhaps because I was the smallest kid in my class!
The best candy store we had ever seen as kids, featured in “Candy Man”:
And Gene Wilder frolicking around the most heavenly candy room imaginable in “Pure Imagination.” What we would have given to have our own golden ticket and entry to the candy room of every kid’s dreams:
And every year we couldn’t wait to see “Here Comes Peter Cottontail”:
But as they say, the reason for the season, in the Christian faith, best summarized in this video version of “New Again”:
On a different note, with a heavy heart I feel compelled pay tribute to my faithful pup who finally lost her valiant battle with heart disease this weekend. She was a companion at my side for 10 years, often with her head on my lap while I had to use my laptop “side-saddle” to free up my lap for her. And she slept on my pillow above my head at night, or in the crook of my arm, or with her head on my shoulder. She was my little little girl. I will miss her.
If you haven’t read “The Art Of Racing In The Rain” you should. It’s very worth a read. I haven’t watched the movie yet, but intend to. The end scene I found on YouTube brings some comfort to a grieving heart:
Back to the playlist. One song to highlight is “Sweet Caroline.” During the 1997 game at Fenway, Amy Tobey, one of the employees in charge of music at the ballpark, played “Sweet Caroline” because a friend of hers had recently given birth to a baby named Caroline. She became superstitious about its use over the next several years, only playing the song between the seventh and ninth innings when the Red Sox were in the lead.
That all changed in 2002 when the new Executive VP of Public Affairs Dr. Charles Steinberg set sight on making the song an integral part of the Fenway experience. He requested the song be played at every game prior to the Red Sox batting in the 8th inning feeling the song had transformative powers to lift the spirits of the crowd and cheer on the team.
“Sweet Caroline” figuring prominently in Fever Pitch
Neil Diamond further cemented the tie of the song to the Sox and Boston itself, revealing in 2007 that the song was about New England’s own Carline Kennedy. He claimed he was inspired by a photograph he saw in a magazine of the 9 year-old Kennedy next to her pony impeccably dressed in her riding gear. He has since recanted the story, stating the song was written about his wife, changing her name as the song musically called for a 3-syllables. Whatever the inspiration, it has become an indelible part of the Boston experience:
And now for the playlist:
I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew. Rediscover the passion of music in your life.
Live in the moment.
Enjoy the moment.
Love the moment.
Listen to the SWEET MUSIC!