A Guide to 12 Acoustic Guitar-Based Tracks on The Beatles' 'White Album'
Guitar World takes a look at the acoustic guitar-based songs on the "White Album" -- how they were written and the process they went through to become finished tracks.
"WHILE MY GUITAR GENTLY WEEPS"
Recorded September 5 & 6, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
One of George Harrison's finest songs, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" was remade not once but twice on the way to becoming a "White Album" track. The group originally rehearsed the song on July 25, at which time they recorded several takes for Harrison to listen to at home. On that same day, however, Harrison also recorded the first "proper" take of the song by himself, laying down vocal, acoustic guitar and organ tracks for what was regarded as a completed recording. (At this stage, the song even included an additional verse, later cut by Harrison.)
By August 16, Harrison had decided to remake the song as a full-band performance. On this day, the Beatles recorded 14 takes of the song, featuring guitar (Harrison), organ (Lennon), bass (McCartney) and drums (Starr). The track languished on the studio's shelf until September 3, when the group transferred the four-track recording onto Abbey Road's new eight-track machine. Work on the tape continued on September 5, at which point Harrison decided to scrap the whole thing and start fresh.
The song was completed the following day when Eric Clapton, at Harrison's request, came to Abbey Road Studios and overdubbed his distinctive electric guitar part. Although no longer the quiet acoustic song Harrison had originally recorded, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" prominently features George's acoustic guitar on its backing track, where, along with McCartney's bass, it provides the song's fundamental driving rhythm.
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