US picture sleeve
|Single by George Harrison|
|from the album Thirty Three & 1/3|
|B-side||"Learning How to Love You"|
|Released||15 November 1976|
|Length||4:14 (album version)
3:45 (single edit)
|Producer(s)||George Harrison with Tom Scott|
|George Harrison singles chronology|
"This Song" is the fourth track on George Harrison's 1976 album Thirty Three & 1/3. It was released as the first single from the album and reached number 25 on the American pop charts, although like all three singles from the album, it failed to chart in the UK.
"This Song" was written after the week Harrison spent in a New York courtroom, unsuccessfully trying to convince a judge that his 1970 song "My Sweet Lord" did not intentionally infringe the Chiffons' 1963 hit "He's So Fine". According to Harrison, the plaintiff got ridiculously in-depth, breaking "My Sweet Lord" down into several melody lines, or "motifs", as they referred to them. Apparently, the plaintiff also drew up several charts with large musical notes on it to prove their point. Harrison said in his autobiography, I, Me, Mine, that after several days, he "started to believe that maybe they did own those notes".
After he lost the case, Harrison wrote "This Song", which released his frustration of the infringement case in the form of an uptempo, piano-driven boogie. It features Billy Preston on piano and organ, and Monty Python's Eric Idle calling out a falsetto "Could be 'Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch' – No, sounds more like 'Rescue Me'!" interjection right before the instrumental break. The company Bright Tunes owned the copyright to He's So Fine, which inspired the line, "This tune has nothing Bright about it". Writing for Goldmine magazine in January 2002, Dave Thompson described "This Song" as "a brilliantly constructed commentary on Harrison's more recent travails".
The song also has a humorous music video (shown on the 20 November 1976 episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Paul Simon, in which Harrison was a special musical guest), which features George in a courtroom along with a cast of many of his friends (dressed up as the jury, bailiff, defense experts, etc.). Drummer Jim Keltner appears as the judge and the Rolling Stones's Ronnie Wood (dressed as a "Pepperpot" character) mimics Idle's aforementioned falsetto words. The video was directed by Michael Collins for Rosebud Films.
- George Harrison – vocals, electric guitars, tambourine, backing vocals
- Tom Scott – saxophones
- Billy Preston – piano, organ
- Willie Weeks – bass
- Alvin Taylor – drums
- Eric Idle – voice
- Thirty Three & 1/3 (CD booklet). George Harrison. Dark Horse Records. 2004. p. 3.
- Dave Thompson, "The Music of George Harrison: An album-by-album guide", Goldmine, 25 January 2002, p. 18.
- "RPM Top Singles, January 22, 1977", Library and Archives Canada (retrieved 11 April 2014).
- "George Harrison – This Song", dutchcharts.nl (retrieved 11 April 2014).
- "InfoDisc: Tous les Titres par Artiste" > Choisir un Artiste dans la Liste (in French), infodisc.fr (retrieved 11 April 2014).
- "George Harrison > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles", AllMusic (retrieved 11 April 2014).
- Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.