When the late George Harrison released My Sweet Lord as the first single of his post-Beatle solo album All Things Must Pass, I bet he didn’t imagine that the song would remain a timeless classic. Most importantly, that a star-studded music video for the song would be released 50 years later.
On Dec. 15, 2021, the music video was released through Harrison’s official YouTube channel. Directed by Lance Bangs, the video starts with Fred Armisen, a metaphysical special agent who is tasked by the head of a clandestine agency, played by Mark Hamill, to search for that “something” which can’t be seen.
Armisen will later on be joined by fellow Saturday Night Live alumni Vanessa Bayer and together, they’re geared towards looking for that “something.” The search for clues starts in a fascinating bookstore and along the way, they meet some interesting and familiar individuals.
The part that made me tear up a bit was when Jeff Lynne (Harrison’s close friend/producer and fellow member of super group Traveling Willburys) waves to Armisen from the sidewalk as he drives by.
If you’re a big fan of Harrison, you will see subtle references from some of his previous works as a solo artist including from All Things Must Pass and the quirky dance sequence from the Got My Mind Set On You music video recreation inside the music theater, where Emmy Winner Darren Criss ushered Armisen in
Inside the cinema, we will also spot two familiar moviegoers eating popcorn: Fellow Beatle Ringo Starr, and Joe Walsh of the Eagles. They’re all watching a series of homemade clips that were first shown in the documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World, where Harrison was recording himself from his beloved garden in Friar Park.
For some people, Harrison might be the “quiet Beatle,” but those who truly know him are aware of the fact that he is the funniest among the Fab 4. He even founded Handmade Films in order to support his friends in making dark comedy films he would like to see on the big screen such as Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Withnail & I, Nuns on a Run and Time Bandits.
“Making this was one of the most fulfilling experiences in my life,” Bangs—who created videos for bands and artists like Nirvana, Green Day, Kanye West etc.—said in a press release. “The approach was to represent the song visually while these agents and inspectors kept missing the metaphysical wonder around them. Images choreographed to the sound of vocal melodies, guitar strums, drum patterns, chord changes. George threaded a sense of humor through all of his videos, so we kept the spirit and filled the cast with friends and admirers of his music, many coming from the current comedy landscape.”
All in all, forty musicians, actors, comedians, directors, artists and other creatives appeared on this special project including former bandmates Starr (The Beatles) and Lynne (The Traveling Wilburys); to fellow musicians Joe Walsh, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Reggie Watts, actors Criss, John Hamm, Rosanna Arquette; comedians Patton Oswalt, Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher; comedy duos Tim and Eric (Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim) and Garfunkel and Oates (Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome); award-winning director Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, Thor: Ragnarok); and visual artist Shepard Fairey.
What makes this music video special is the presence of Harrison’s widow, Olivia, and their only son Dhani, who also appeared with actress Aimee Mullins and actor Rupert Friend and in the video. Dhani also served as the executive producer of the video along with David Zoshine.
With the star-studded number of creatives who took part in this special project, there’s no wonder that George Harrison remains an influential figure twenty years after his passing.