The Fab 50: The Beatles' 50 Greatest Guitar Moments
Check out Guitar World's guide to the Fab 50 — the Beatles' 50 finest guitar moments!
02. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
The Beatles (1968)
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” has become one of George Harrison’s signature tunes, but when he wrote the song in 1968, he couldn’t get his band mates to take an interest in it.
Frustrated, he asked his pal Eric Clapton to sit in on the recording session for the track, hoping his presence would put the group on its best behavior. Clapton accepted the invitation and delivered a performance that remains a high point in the Beatles’ catalog.
For the session, Clapton played a 1957 Les Paul “Goldtop” that had been refinished in red. He’d purchased the guitar in New York City sometime in the Sixties and in 1968 gifted it to Harrison, who nicknamed it Lucy.
The guitar was already in Harrison’s possession at the time of this recording. When he picked up Clapton to take him to the studio for the Beatles session, the famous guitarist was empty handed. “I didn’t have a guitar,” Clapton recalls. “I just got into the car with him. So he gave me [Lucy] to play.”
Harrison was concerned that Clapton’s solo was “not Beatley enough,” as the group was by the time of this recording well known for its sonic innovation.
During the song’s mixing stage, the group had engineer Chris Thomas send Clapton’s signal through Abbey Road’s ADT—Automatic Double Tracking—tape-delay system and manually alter the speed of the delay throughout Clapton’s performance, making the pitch sound chorused. (The effect is especially noticeable in the final measure of the second middle-eight, after the line “no one alerted you.”) Ironically, while the solo is one of Clapton’s most famous, he was never credited on the recording.
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