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Born on this day: March 30, 1945 - Rock guitar icon Eric Clapton (born Eric Patrick Clapton in Ripley, Surrey, UK). Happy 70th Birthday, Slowhand!
On this day in music history: March 30, 1963 - "He's So Fine" by The Chiffons hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for four weeks on April 6, 1963. Written by Ronnie Mack, it is the debut single and biggest for the female R&B/Pop vocal quartet from New York City. Originally consisting of group members Judy Craig, Patricia Bennett, and Barbara Lee, The Chiffons are formed in 1960 while all are students at James Monroe High School in the Bronx. In 1962, the girls will meet songwriter Ronnie Mack who will become their manager and suggest that they add 14-year-old Sylvia Peterson to the group, making them a quartet. Mack will write "He's So Fine" for the group as their first single. While Mack tries to secure a record deal for The Chiffons, the song will attract the attention of music publisher Bright Tunes run by Phil Margo, Mitch Margo, Jay Siegal, and Hank Medress, better known as The Tokens ("The Lion Sleeps "). They love the song and offer to produce them, as they have a production deal for Capitol Records. Having already exhausted their production budget, The Tokens will take The Chiffons into a small demo studio to record "He's So Fine." After the track is completed, they will play it for Capitol Records president Voyle Gilmore, who will reject the song as being "too simple and too trite." The group will shop the song around and be rejected by more than a dozen record labels before it is picked up by Laurie Records in New York. Released in December of 1962, the song will initially get off to a slow start, but will eventually catch on. Entering the Hot 100 at #87 on February 23, 1963, it will leap to the top of the chart five weeks later. Sadly, songwriter Ronnie Mack will not have long to enjoy his newly found success. Shortly after the song reaches number one, he will be diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease and succumb to the illness just a few months later at the age of 23. The Chiffons will score further hits with the Carole King and Gerry Goffin penned "One Fine Day" (#5 Pop, #6 R&B) and "Sweet Talkin' Guy" (#10 Pop). "He's So Fine" will later become the subject of a lawsuit between Bright Tunes Publishing and former Beatle George Harrison when the publisher accuses him of plagiarizing "He's So Fine" for his number one single "My Sweet Lord." The lawsuit will drag on for years before it is finally settled. George Harrison's estate will purchase the publishing rights to "He's So Fine" and hold the copyright to this day. In a small bit of irony, The Chiffons will cover "My Sweet Lord" in the mid '70s, though it will not be a hit.