George Harrison, when penning The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” had waning passion for guitars. Interestingly, another iconic musician played a part in the song’s creation. Later, Prince dazzled audiences with a memorable rendition of this classic.
The Charm of The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
This song stands out not just for its evocative lyrics but predominantly for its captivating guitar sequences. Quite an irony, considering George’s feelings towards the instrument then.
In “George Harrison on George Harrison: Interviews and Encounters”, a 1977 interview sheds light on George’s sentiments during the song’s conception. “I’d play the guitar during studio sessions,” he remarked, “but my enthusiasm for it had somewhat faded.”
Eric Clapton’s Touch on the Beatles’ Masterpiece
The legendary Eric Clapton had a significant influence on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” George reminisced about a time he was traveling with a sitar from California, having filmed for Ravi Shankar’s biography, “Raga.” On stopping in New York, he met Jimi Hendrix and Clapton. Around this period, George mentioned, “Eric gifted me a remarkable Les Paul guitar, which he plays in that song.” George appreciated the synergy of collaborating with fellow musicians.
The Silent Triumph of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
Despite never being released as a single and thus not charting on the Billboard Hot 100, the song found its place on the iconic White Album. This album reigned supreme on the Billboard 200 for a commendable duration and had several stints on the UK charts, especially during the 1980s Beatles’ album releases.
The song inspired cover versions by notable artists like Toto, Phish, and Regina Spektor. Spektor’s rendition featured in the movie “Kubo and the Two Strings.” The most unforgettable version, however, was by Prince at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, alongside luminaries like Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty. Prince’s performance was a testament to his unparalleled guitar prowess.
In retrospect, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” boasts some of the finest guitar artistry from the ’60s, a fact made even more remarkable by George’s dwindling passion for the instrument at the time.