FLASHBACK: George Harrison's 'My Sweet Lord' Hits Number One
It was 42 years ago today (December 26th, 1970) that George Harrison scored the first Number One hit by an ex-Beatle with his single "My Sweet Lord," which went on to top the charts for four weeks. The tune, which he had first produced as a gospel song for good friend Billy Preston, was the first single from Harrison's triple album All Things Must Pass -- which itself went on to top the album charts on January 2nd, 1971 for a whopping seven weeks.
Harrison recalled recording "My Sweet Lord" in his 1980 "song biography" titled I Me Mine, admitting, "I thought a lot about whether to do 'My Sweet Lord' or not, because I would be committing myself publicly (to my beliefs) and I anticipated that a lot of people might get weird about it. Many people fear the words 'Lord' and 'God.' (It) makes them angry for some reason."
It's recently been revealed that "My Sweet Lord" turned out to be a mini-Beatles reunion of sorts. Ringo Starr and future Derek & the Dominoes member Jim Gordon drum on the track, along with Apple band Badfinger on acoustic guitars and none other than John Lennon strumming along himself. In a recent Beatlefan magazine interview, Harrison's longtime friend and bassist Klaus Voormann stated that Lennon actually performs on the track.
Harrison's widow, Olivia Harrison says that some critics and fans misinterpreted George's spiritual lyrics as being so serious that they bordered on preachy. She says that George often used his songs as his own form of spiritual guidance: "He also wrote these things to remind himself. People sometimes accused him of preaching (laughs). But you know, he was really preaching to himself. He wasn't trying to say, 'You be like this because I'm already like this.' No, he was always trying to remind himself. And that's the reason he liked India so much, because he said that, 'Everywhere you went, there was a reminder.'"