“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is one of The Beatles most famous songs and arguably one of George Harrison’s masterpieces, amongst a host of increidble songs. It was recorded in 1968 as part of the White Album sessions. The song was written as an exercise in randomness where he consulted the Chinese I Ching or the Classic of Changes book.
While the sessions went ahead for the White Album, Harrison, McCartney, Lennon and Ringo’s relationship was beginning to really swell. Arguments were rife and Harrison felt his song was getting overshadowed from the main songwriting of Lennon and McCartney, he looked elsewhere for inspiration after struggling with inspiration for his guitar parts for over a month.
Harrison, instead of turning to his bandmates, asked close friend Eric Clapton for help. On the 6th September Clapton turned up at Abbey Road Studio to do just that. In a 1987 interview with Guitar Player magazine, Harrison was asked whether it had bruised his ego to ask Clapton to play on the song. “No, my ego would rather have Eric play on it. I’ll tell you, I worked on that song with John, Paul, and Ringo one day, and they were not interested in it at all,” he said. “And I knew inside of me that it was a nice song.”
He added: “The next day I was with Eric, and I was going into the session, and I said, ‘We’re going to do this song. Come on and play on it’. He said, ‘Oh, no. I can’t do that. Nobody ever plays on the Beatles records’. I said, ‘Look, it’s my song, and I want you to play on it’. So Eric came in, and the other guys were as good as gold-because he was there. Also, it left me free to just play the rhythm and do the vocal. So Eric played that, and I thought it was really good. Then we listened to it back, and he said, ‘Ah, there’s a problem, though; it’s not Beatley enough’ – so we put it through the ADT [automatic double-tracker], to wobble it a bit.”
You can listen to the track that features Eric Clapton on the track below: