Quite possible George Harrison’s greatest contribution to The Beatles’ catalog, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a song that practically pleads with the listener to wake up and look at the world around them, even if it’s only at the floor beneath their feet. Harrison was the Beatle who immersed himself the most in Eastern philosophy and after reading the I Ching with it’s ideas of relativism and the notion that all things that happen have a purpose, Harrison set out to write a song based on the first words he saw in a random book at his mother’s house in England. Those words were “gently weeps”.

Written for The White Album, the song went through many lyrical changes with full verses that have a more aggressive tone cut from the final product. Also of note is Harrison’s long-time friend Eric Clapton’s uncredited guitar solo in the middle of the song. Harrison asked Clapton to play on the song, though Clapton refused, at first, out of reverence for the band. Harrison eventually convinced him to play. When George Harrison passed away in November 2001, The Concert For George done in his honor the following year featured a stunning rendition of the song by Clapton, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Harrison’s son Dhani, and others.

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