George Harrison's 'My Sweet Lord' Gets An LA-Filmed Music Video 50 Years Later
George Harrison has recently been back in the cultural limelight thanks to the popularity of the documentary, The Beatles: Get Back, on Disney+, which even includes Harrison quitting the band on camera — before making a return days later. But the group did come to an end not long after, and Harrison embarked on a solo career that kicked off with the single “My Sweet Lord,” which went to No. 1 on the charts around the world.
Now, for the first time ever, there’s an official music video for the song celebrating 50 years since Harrison’s iconic solo album, All Things Must Pass. The 50th anniversary was actually in 2020, but, well … 2020. So the celebration got delayed until now. And it was filmed here in Los Angeles, just days after the 20th anniversary of Harrison’s Nov. 29, 2001 death in Beverly Hills.
It’s one of those music videos that opens with a bit of a story framing it, holding off the music a la a rap album skit. In this one, Mark Hamill sends Fred Armisen on a mission for “The Bureau” to investigate a metaphysical mystery.
Making use of a handheld scanner and a flashlight, the journey takes Armisen and his partner, Vanessa Bayer, around Los Angeles landmarks as “My Sweet Lord” plays. They start off in downtown's The Last Bookstore and meet numerous prominent members of the L.A. comedy scene along the way — a fitting tribute for a man who mortgaged his house to finance Monty Python’s The Life Of Brian. You’ll see more celebs and important people from Harrison’s life, including his Traveling Wilburys friend and collaborator, ELO’s Jeff Lynne.
“The approach was to represent the song visually while these agents and inspectors kept missing the metaphysical wonder around them,” video director Lance Bangs said in a statement. “I hope that viewers can feel a sense of wonder and searching while they watch it, and that the song continues to add to all of our lives.”
Armisen and Bayer split up, driving through the streets of L.A. and ending up with Armisen heading to the classic Vista Theatre in Silver Lake. He’s greeted by Darren Criss at the door, Patton Oswalt checking tickets, and “Weird Al” Yankovic behind the concessions booth dishing out popcorn. And Ringo Starr himself is among those watching film of Harrison on the big screen, as Armisen and Criss investigate and shine their flashlights throughout the darkened room. Some of the movie theater cameos include Rosanna Arquette, Sam Richardson, Joe Walsh from The Eagles, and more.
Starr takes a moment in the lobby to teach Armisen — also well-known for being a drummer — some technique. Jon Hamm comes in with an appearance as a Bureau boss, sending in another dozen agents to join the investigation.
Among the teams are alt-comedy duos Tim and Eric, as well as Garfunkel and Oates. When these pairs run into each other, they decide to switch partners in a crossover I never knew I needed, but absolutely loved. Other notable investigators include Taika Waititi, Anders Holm, and even Harrison’s widow, Olivia. You can also spot L.A. street art legend/Obama “Hope” poster creator, Shepard Fairey.
“George threaded a sense of humor through all of his videos, so we kept that spirit and filled the cast with friends and admirers of his music, many coming from the current comedy landscape,” Bangs said in a statement. You can watch all those friends and admirers in the video above.