Which controversial entry leaves us today??
The Chiffons – He’s So Fine
Average Score: 6.900
Highest Score: 10 x 1 (@ohnostalgia
Lowest Score: 2 x 2 (@Empty Shoebox, @Conan
And we return to the 60s for another cut, you heathens! He’s So Fine wasn’t so fine for you all! It lingered around the low 20s for most of the voting period, including a small victory in getting into the top 15 at one point but eventually other numbers surpassed it and gained momentum (including Substitute, which I had no idea would come this far; and is still going!) until it got relegated to the top 40! This sweet little number has quite a bit of history; and an interesting story behind it so let’s dig in!
He’s So Fine was written by Ronald Mack (an acquaintance of The Chiffons) who also set himself up as their manager when he 'discovered' them while they were harmonising in their high school lunch room. He's So Fine was produced by The Tokens along with ‘Oh, My Lover’ (which was the track they considered to be the potential hit). Upon completion however, it was He’s So Fine that sounded like the obvious smash and became the track they workshopped to get a record deal with. They were turned down by Capitol Records first (an affiliate of The Tokens which they went to first) and in total 10 record companies turned them down until Laurie Records signed them.
Rumour has it that when they played the track to Laurie Records, the label locked the doors and said that they weren’t getting out of there until they signed! Right they were in believing in He’s So Fine. It topped the Billboard Charts for 4 weeks in 1963 and was chosen as BILLBOARD's #5 Best Song of 1963. Further accolades came later, with Billboard (again) also listing it at #73 of its 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time.
The controversy behind this sweet little track however is a legal case around plagiarism. In February 1971, a lawsuit was filed around (former Beatles) George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord and the similarities between the tracks. The case didn’t go to trial until 1976, where the judge ruled in the plaintiff’s favour awarding the label with damages due to George Harrison’s ‘subconscious plagiarism’. The damages awarded were to the value of $587,000 (the purchase price of the suing record label as Harrison ended up buying it).
The Chiffons had some hits after He’s So Fine (including recording a version of My Sweet Lord kiii) and their record ‘I Have A Boyfriend’ was the last song playing on the radio before the announcement that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. Eventually as success started to dwindle, the girls all got more regular jobs and stopped performing as regularly. Wikipedia lists them as still being active in some capacity but I could not find any evidence to verify this, so if you have more details – please share with us!
Let’s see why the PopJustice crowd were not in The Chiffons’ corner to take them all the way:
Zar-Unity (6) may have connected with this better if it weren’t for the length (we’ve all been there!) - Happy, fun going pop. Kinda short? Tech: 5 Taste: 1 = 6 points. Kermit_The_Frog (9) has always been in The Chiffons’ corner - Such an underrated group and such an underrated song! Further listen - One Fine Day (written by Carole King who also penned a song on the list we will discuss #soon) ComeOnGloria (6) likes but gets a little sick of the doo wop style - I've sung a medley of chiffons songs before - they're nice enough but a bit simple and repetitive
Filippa (5) has had better first dates… - Nice song, typical for this period. I like it but won’t listen to it today. Empty Shoebox (2) also prefers an assertive man - The 'doo lang, doo lang, doo lang' bits get on my tits, the arrangement is really basic, and the lyrics? Nope. DominoDancing (8) credits the girls by how ‘influential’ they became? - If a Beatle nicks your hook, you're doing something right!
Iheartpoptarts (8) wishes she lived through the era - 60s crush anthem! Ufint (7.5) likes an earworm - All I’m going to remember is doo-lang doo-lang. It’s nice enough, but it’s a little bit on the short side and the hook isn’t phenomenally strong. Unnameable (9) only has one word – excellence. DJHazey (6) has already begun campaigning for the signature song round! - This has always been just okay for me, too bad "One Fine Day" wasn't their debut but I don't really have an argument since this got to #1 and that only got #5, so I guess it's considered their signature song.