Recording: While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Engineer: Ken Scott

Two separate versions of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ were worked on during this session: overdubs to the first group attempt, and a remake which eventually became the released version.

The song’s composer George Harrison recorded two separate lead vocal tracks, and with the other Beatles overdubbed maracas, drums and lead guitar. However, after hearing a playback of the progress so far, Harrison decided to scrap the recording and start afresh.

Sheet music cover for While My Guitar Gently Weeps

The Beatles recorded 28 takes of a new rhythm track during this session, filling three reels of eight-track tape. These takes were numbered 17-44. Take 25 was eventually decided as the best, and featured Harrison’s guide vocals and acoustic guitar, John Lennon on organ, Paul McCartney on piano, Ringo Starr playing drums, and Eric Clapton on electric guitar. Clapton played on each of the takes, playing live with The Beatles in the studio.

George Harrison's handwritten lyrics for While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Harrison had invited Clapton to the session earlier that day, while giving him a lift from Surrey to London. Despite Clapton’s initial wariness about performing on a Beatles song, Harrison insisted that it would be fine.

Clapton used the Gibson Les Paul guitar, known as Lucy, that he had given to Harrison a month previously. Clapton’s presence in the studio reportedly made the other Beatles more attentive and enthusiastic about the song, doubtless to Harrison’s relief.

McCartney played organ on some of the unused takes, and also busked a version of ‘Lady Madonna’ after take 40.

Take 25 received further overdubs and was completed on the following day.

Last updated: 27 June 2023
Filming: Hey Jude, Revolution
Television: Paul McCartney and Mary Hopkin filmed for Magpie
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