“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1968 double album The Beatles (also known as “the White Album”). It was written by George Harrison, the band’s lead guitarist. Harrison wrote “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” as an exercise in randomness inspired by the Chinese I Ching. The song conveys his dismay at the world’s unrealised potential for universal love, which he refers to as “the love there that’s sleeping”.
The song also serves as a comment on the disharmony within the Beatles after their return from studying transcendental meditation in India in early 1968. This lack of camaraderie was reflected in the band’s initial apathy towards the composition, which Harrison countered by inviting his friend and occasional collaborator, Eric Clapton, to contribute to the recording. Clapton overdubbed a lead guitar part, although he was not formally credited for his contribution. Harrison first recorded it with a sparse backing of acoustic guitar and harmonium – a version that appeared on the 1996 Anthology 3 outtakes compilation and, with the addition of a string arrangement by George Martin, on the Love soundtrack album in 2006. The full group recording was made in September 1968, at which point the song’s folk-based musical arrangement was replaced by a production in the heavy rock style. The recording was one of several collaborations between Harrison and Clapton during the late 1960s and was followed by the pair co-writing the song “Badge” for Clapton’s group Cream.
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