I’ve known for a long time that Paul Weller can be, shall we say, somewhat magpie-like in his attitude to a good tune. In my youth I’d been fully aware that he’d basically ‘sampled’ Taxman for Start! but I felt then (and still do) that the newer song was sufficiently different for the link to be purely inspirational rather than plagiaristic. Start! remains one of my favourite Jam songs – a discordant new wave howl punctuated with sweetness (‘If I never ever see you…’).
This segues seamlessly into the He’s So Fine / My Sweet Lord situation and again I’d make the case that the songs were so different in style that the undeniable melodic similarity between the two is irrelevant. As we know, George was eventually found guilty of ‘unconscious plagiarism’.
Came across this site today though and it does paint our Paul in a rather unflattering light. The chances of him taking a hook and ‘making it his own’ recede with every passing year and can certainly not be passed off as the innocence of youth.