The Beatles record and bring in session guest Eric Clapton today in 1968

August 16, 2016

Today in 1968

The Beatles were in the studio with Eric Clapton

recording in 14 takes 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'

 

The song was Written by George Harrison in 1968

for their eponymous double album also known as 'The White Album'

 

The recording features lead guitar by Eric Clapton

although he was not formally credited on the album

 

The song was left alone until September 3rd

when a series of overdubs were added

On Abbey Road's new eight-track recording equipment

Harrison worked alone

spending the entire eight-hour session

trying to record a backwards guitar solo

The next day Harrison recorded two lead vocal parts,

maracas, drums and lead guitar

Upon hearing a playback of the recording so far

Harrison decided to scrap it and begin afresh

The remake was started that same day

The Beatles recorded 28 takes

The basic track had Harrison on acoustic guitar and guide vocals

Lennon on guitar

McCartney playing piano and organ

Starr on drums

While My Guitar Gently Weeps was completed on September 6th

Eric Clapton played a Les Paul guitar and recorded his guitar solo

 

During the mixing stage

The solo was vari-speeded to give it more of a 'Beatles sound'

The same day

saw the addition of a distorted bass part played by McCartney

some organ by Harrison

percussion by Starr

Harrison taped his lead vocals

Supported by backing harmonies from McCartney

 

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Ranks at number 136 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time

Number 7 on the magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time

Number 10 on its list of The Beatles 100 Greatest Songs

Guitar World ranked Eric Clapton's playing at number 42

in its list of the "100 Greatest Guitar Solos"

 

"I wrote While My Guitar Gently Weeps at my mother's house in Warrington

I was thinking about the Chinese I Ching, The Book of Changes

The Eastern concept is that whatever happens is all meant to be

and that there's no such thing as coincidence

every little item that's going down has a purpose

 

While My Guitar Gently Weeps was a simple study based on that theory

I decided to write a song based on the first thing I saw

upon opening any book – as it would be relative to that moment, at that time

I picked up a book at random, opened it, saw 'gently weeps'

then laid the book down again and started the song"

---George Harrison

Personnel

  • George Harrison – double-tracked vocal, backing vocal, acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar, Hammond organ

  • Paul McCartney – harmony vocal, piano, bass

  • John Lennon – electric guitar with tremolo

  • Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine, castanets

  • Eric Clapton – lead guitar (uncredited)

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