George Harrison Shows Off His Beatles Guitars in 1974 Music Video
In late 1974, former Beatle George Harrison released a holiday single of sorts. Its A-side, “Ding Dong, Ding Dong,” was one of the catchier tunes from his latest album, Dark Horse.
Luckily for Beatles fans—and for guitar fans in general—Harrison filmed a music video to go along with the tune. It’s overflowing with cameo appearances by some (but, unfortunately, not all) of his most iconic Beatles-era guitars. Note that this was shot a full 10 years after the height of Beatlemania. You can check it out below.
As Harrison parodies several younger versions of himself—”ringing out the old,” as it were—he plays (and/or displays) a Gibson ES-5 (not one of his Beatles guitars, despite the Hamburg-era leather jacket he’s sporting as he plays it), his legendary 1963 Rickenbacker 360/12, his original Epiphone Casino (the same guitar he played on the Beatles’ final tour in 1966) and his 1957 Gibson Les Paul, also known as “Lucy.”
This is the guitar Harrison plays in the “Revolution” promo video, the same ax Eric Clapton plays on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (according to Andy Babiuk, and I totally agree). We also see a few custom instruments, including a 12-string acoustic guitar made by Zemaitis.
The song features another former Beatle, Ringo Starr, on drums, plus Alvin Lee of Ten Years After on guitar.
Another thing on display in the clip is Harrison’s ridiculous (in a good way) sense of humor. He gets my vote for funniest Beatle; if you don’t agree, check out the bottom clip, in which Harrison—aka “Pirate Bob”—hijacks a would-be performance of “My Sweet Lord” with a song about pirates: “I’ve got a Jolly Roger, it’s a black and white and vast / so get out of your skull and crossbones / and I’ll run it up your mast.”
It’s from the Holiday 1975 episode of Rutland Weekend Television, which features Monty Python’s Eric Idle. Dig those righteous pedal steel guitar licks!
George Harrison with “Lucy” in 1974. Photo: Larry Hulst/Getty Images