51 years later, George Harrison’s ‘My Sweet Lord’ goes Hollywood with celebrity video
The first-ever official music video for George Harrison’s hit “My Sweet Lord” has finally arrived — just 51 years after its release in late 1970 and two decades after “the quiet Beatle’s” death. And it’s chock-full of celebrity faces.
Released Wednesday, the visual continues the celebration of the 50th-anniversary remix of Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” triple album, which includes “My Sweet Lord” and was his first solo release after the Beatles broke up in early 1970.
The new video, which runs seven minutes with the credits, takes viewers on an adventure with special agents played by Fred Armisen and fellow “Saturday Night Live” veteran Vanessa Bayer, acting on orders from Mark Hamill as the head of a metaphysical “Men in Black"-type agency.
Olivia and Dhani Harrison share what they learned about George while putting together the new 8-LP reissue of his first post-Beatles solo album.
“There’s something out there. The bureau wants you to see it. I want you to see it,” Hamill tells Armisen after handing over a glowing device said to be “the bureau’s latest scanner.”
“I want to see it,” Armisen blurts. He and Bayer then start a search for what a news release dubbed “that which can’t be seen.”
The rest of the video travels through a bookstore, down Los Angeles streets and into the Vista Theatre in Los Feliz, where footage of Harrison plays on the screen. Evoking a “Twin Peaks” vibe, Jon Hamm appears on a tablet with a message that he’s sending more agents as backup. The search goes wide, but when Bayer and Armisen reunite, they still don’t have any answers.
Peter Jackson’s nearly eight-hour Beatles doc both refutes the canard of Yoko as band-wrecker and reminds us of what was lost when Paul and John went separate ways.
But there are dozens of celebrity cameos in the video, including “Weird Al” Yankovic, Rosanna Arquette, Darren Criss, Patton Oswalt, Taika Waititi and Reggie Watts. Ringo Starr and Jeff Lynne show up, as do Eagles musician Joe Walsh and artist Shepard Fairey.
Some of the late Beatle’s family members also appear, including his widow, Olivia Harrison, and their only child, Dhani Harrison, who executive produced the video with David Zonshine. The full cast is listed in the end credits, should viewers need a guide to who they’ve just seen.
The project was written and directed by filmmaker Lance Bangs, whose résumé includes music videos for Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Green Day, Arcade Fire, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, R.E.M., the Black Keys and Kanye West.
Peter Jackson and ‘Let It Be’ director Michael Lindsay-Hogg explain how 57 hours of footage from 1969 tell a different story in ‘The Beatles: Get Back.’
Harrison died in Los Angeles on Nov. 29, 2001, after a battle with cancer. He was 58. The recent 50th-anniversary deluxe edition of “All Things Must Pass” is nominated for a 2022 Grammy for boxed or special limited-edition package.
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr remain the two surviving members of the seminal band. John Lennon was killed by Mark David Chapman in December 1980.
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