While My Guitar Gently Weeps: History, Meaning, Lyrics, + More

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a timeless classic that has captured the hearts of music lovers for decades.

Written by the legendary George Harrison, the song is an emotional masterpiece that blends together his impeccable songwriting skills with a hauntingly beautiful melody.

From its iconic opening guitar riff to its melancholic lyrics, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a testament to Harrison’s talent as a songwriter and his ability to connect with his audience on a deeply emotional level.

Whether you’re a die-hard Beatles fan or simply appreciate great music, this iconic track is sure to leave a lasting impression.

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While My Guitar Gently Weeps – History & Background

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a song that was written by George Harrison, who was a member of the Beatles.

The song was first recorded in 1968, during the sessions for the band’s self-titled album, which is also commonly known as “The White Album.”

It was ultimately released on the band’s 1968 album, “The Beatles,” also known as the “White Album.”

The origins of the song can be traced back to Harrison’s interest in Eastern philosophy and religion, which had a profound influence on his life and music.

In 1967, Harrison had met Ravi Shankar, an Indian musician who introduced him to the sitar and the intricacies of Indian classical music.

Harrison was also deeply influenced by the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who was a spiritual teacher from India that the Beatles had studied with in 1967.

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Harrison began writing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” in 1968, while he was at his mother’s house in Warrington, England.

The song was inspired by a book of Chinese philosophy that Harrison had been reading, which included a passage about the concept of “all things being equal under the sun.”

Harrison felt that this idea applied to the music industry, where talented musicians could go unrecognized while others gained fame and fortune.

The song was initially written on acoustic guitar and featured Harrison’s lyrics and melody. However, when he brought the song to the band during recording sessions for “The White Album,” it was transformed into a rock ballad with an iconic electric guitar riff.

Harrison brought in his friend Eric Clapton to play the guitar solo on the track, which is now considered one of the greatest guitar solos in rock history.

Other notable musicians involved in the recording of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” include Ringo Starr on drums, Paul McCartney on bass, and session musician Nicky Hopkins on piano. The song was produced by George Martin, who was the band’s longtime producer and collaborator.

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“When My Guitar Gently Weeps” was released on November 22, 1968, as part of “The Beatles” (White Album).

The song was initially overlooked by some critics, who were more focused on the band’s experimental tracks and the contentious atmosphere that surrounded the recording of the album.

However, over time, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” has come to be recognized as one of the Beatles’ greatest songs and a classic of the rock genre.

In the years since its release, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” has been covered by numerous artists, including Santana, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne. It has also been used in several films and TV shows, including “Forrest Gump,” “The Wonder Years,” and “Kubo and the Two Strings.”

Overall, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a timeless classic that showcases George Harrison’s songwriting prowess and his unique musical vision. Its enduring popularity is a testament to the enduring appeal of the Beatles and their influence on popular music.

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Song Lyrics For

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

I look at you all, see the love there that’s sleeping

While my guitar gently weeps

I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping

Still my guitar gently weeps

I don’t know why nobody told you

How to unfold your love

I don’t know how someone controlled you

They bought and sold you

I look at the world and I notice it’s turning

While my guitar gently weeps

With every mistake we must surely be learning

Still my guitar gently weeps


I don’t know how you were diverted

You were perverted too

I don’t know how you were inverted

No one alerted you

I look at you all, see the love there that’s sleeping

While my guitar gently weeps

Look at you all

Still my guitar gently weeps

Oh, oh

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Oh, oh, oh, oh

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, oh, ooh

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Song Meaning

The song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a melancholic meditation on the struggles and injustices of the world, as seen through the eyes of George Harrison. It touches on themes of mortality, sorrow, and the fleeting nature of life, while also acknowledging the power of music to transcend these struggles.

At its core, the song is a commentary on the state of the music industry in the late 1960s, and the sense of disillusionment that Harrison felt towards it. He was frustrated by the fact that many talented musicians were going unrecognized, while others were enjoying success and acclaim that they did not deserve.

The lyrics of the song are poetic and evocative, painting vivid pictures of a world in turmoil. The opening line, “I look at you all, see the love there that’s sleeping,” sets the tone for the song, as Harrison reflects on the potential for love and goodness in the world, even as he acknowledges the darkness and chaos that surrounds us.

Throughout the song, Harrison uses powerful imagery to convey his message. He describes the world as “a stage for every kind of lie,” and references the “tears of a clown” as a metaphor for the pain and sorrow that lies beneath the surface of the world.

The central image of the song is the guitar, which Harrison personifies as a sentient being that is able to weep and feel the pain of the world. He uses the guitar as a symbol of his own emotions, as well as a metaphor for the power of music to express and transcend the struggles of life.

The song’s iconic guitar solo, played by Eric Clapton, is often seen as a representation of the cathartic power of music. It is a moment of pure emotion and expression, a release from the troubles of the world and a celebration of the beauty that can be found within it.

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In many ways, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a deeply personal song for Harrison, reflecting his own struggles with fame, fortune, and the pressures of the music industry. It is also a testament to his unique artistic vision, as well as the enduring power of the Beatles’ music to inspire and move listeners even today.

Overall, the song’s message is one of hope and resilience, encouraging listeners to find solace and comfort in the power of music and the potential for love and goodness in the world. It is a timeless classic that continues to resonate with listeners around the world, offering a message of comfort and hope in troubled times.

How To Play Chords & Melody on Guitar

Frequently Asked Questions

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Who originally sang While My Guitar Gently Weeps?

The Beatles song “When Your Guitar Gently Wept” was written by George Harrison and was written for the Beatles’ eponymous double album The White Album (also known as The Beatles’ White Album).

This song is composed with the vocals of Eric Clapton, but he is not listed in the album.

Why did Eric Clapton play guitar on While My Guitar Gently Weeps?

To ease the atmosphere, Harrison asked Clapton if he could play his song and he also thought that it was unfair to overshadow the new song from John Lennon and Paul McCartney anyway.

Why didn’t George Harrison play lead on While My Guitar Gently Weeps?

While George Harrison wrote and sang lead vocals on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” he enlisted the help of his friend Eric Clapton on lead guitar.

Harrison was frustrated by the other Beatles’ lack of interest in the song and believed that bringing in Clapton would give it the attention it deserved.

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What happened to Prince’s guitar on While My Guitar Gently Weeps?

Prince was invited to perform as part of an all-star tribute to George Harrison at the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. He was chosen to play the guitar solo on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” with Dhani Harrison on acoustic guitar, Tom Petty on vocals and rhythm guitar, Jeff Lynne on rhythm guitar, and Steve Winwood on organ.

Prince’s performance was electrifying, and he delivered a stunning solo that earned the audience a standing ovation. At the end of the performance, however, Prince removed his guitar and tossed it into the air, expecting a stagehand to catch it. Unfortunately, no one was around to catch the guitar, and it vanished.

Despite extensive efforts over the years, the guitar has never been found. Some believe it was taken by a member of the audience, while others believe it was taken by a member of the crew. Whatever happened to the guitar, it has become a legendary part of Prince’s legacy, and it is still discussed by music fans all over the world.

What is the Beatles Most Famous Song?

The Beatles have many famous songs, but their most well-known and popular song is generally considered to be “Hey Jude.”

It was released in 1968 and became an instant classic, topping the charts in multiple countries and remaining a beloved and iconic song to this day.

Its memorable chorus, sing-along melody, and uplifting message have made it a staple of pop culture, and it continues to be played and celebrated by fans of all ages around the world.

Other notable Beatles classics include “Yesterday,” “Let It Be,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” and “Something.”

What was The Beatles first number one hit?

The Beatles’ first number one hit was “Please Please Me,” which topped the UK singles chart in February 1963.

The song was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and was the title track of their debut album, released in the same year.

“Please Please Me” was produced by George Martin, who helped to shape the Beatles’ distinctive sound, and its upbeat, catchy melody and harmonies helped to establish the band’s reputation as one of the most innovative and exciting acts of the time.

The success of “Please Please Me” set the stage for the Beatles’ meteoric rise to fame, and paved the way for a string of chart-topping hits that would make them one of the most beloved and influential bands in music history.

What is the world’s best guitar solo ever?

The guitar solo in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is considered by many to be one of the greatest guitar solos of all time, due to its emotional intensity, technical skill, and its ability to perfectly complement the mood and tone of the song.

The solo was performed by Eric Clapton, who was a close friend of George Harrison and a highly respected guitarist in his own right. Clapton’s playing on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is notable for its fluidity, expressiveness, and the way it builds in intensity over the course of the solo.

One of the reasons the solo is so effective is its simplicity. Clapton’s playing is not showy or flashy, but instead focuses on melodic phrasing and the careful use of dynamics to convey the emotion of the song. His choice of notes is tasteful and restrained, and he avoids excessive use of techniques like bends and vibrato, instead allowing the melody to speak for itself.

Another reason the solo is so memorable is the way it perfectly matches the mood and tone of the song. The solo begins quietly, with Clapton playing a series of gentle, understated phrases that perfectly capture the sense of melancholy and introspection that permeates the song. As the solo progresses, it gradually builds in intensity, reaching a climax with a series of powerful, soaring notes that convey a sense of release and catharsis.

Overall, the guitar solo in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is considered a masterpiece of understated, emotional playing, and is widely regarded as a highlight of not just the song, but of Clapton’s entire career as a guitarist. Its lasting impact and continued popularity speak to the power and enduring appeal of the Beatles’ music and the iconic musicians who helped to shape it.

Link to greatest guitar soloists article

Related: Best Guitar Soloists (and solos!) of All Time

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Interesting Facts About “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

The original inspiration for the song came from a book of Chinese philosophy called the I Ching, which George Harrison used to randomly select words and phrases to inspire his songwriting.

The song was initially titled “While My Guitar Gently Sweeps” but was changed to “Weeps” by George Harrison after a conversation with his mother, who told him that “sweeps” sounded too depressing.

Eric Clapton played the iconic guitar solo on the song, although he was not officially credited on the album. Instead, he was listed as “L’Angelo Misterioso” on the liner notes.

The recording of the song featured a number of famous musicians, including Eric Clapton, Nicky Hopkins, and Ringo Starr’s longtime friend and collaborator, the drummer Jim Keltner.

The song’s famous guitar solo was not originally planned, but was added to the song after Harrison felt that the original recording lacked a certain “magic.”

George Martin, the Beatles’ legendary producer, was initially hesitant to include the song on the album, feeling that it was too slow and somber. However, Harrison convinced him to include it, and it went on to become one of the most beloved and enduring songs in the Beatles’ catalog.

The song has been covered by numerous artists over the years, including Carlos Santana, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne, and has been featured in numerous films and television shows.

In 2004, a new version of the song was released as part of the album “The Beatles Love,” which featured remixes of classic Beatles songs by the famed producer George Martin and his son Giles.

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Final Words

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a classic rock song written by George Harrison of the Beatles, released in 1968 as part of the group’s self-titled album, commonly known as the “White Album.” The song’s meaning is widely interpreted as a reflection on the struggle for peace and understanding in a world marked by violence and confusion.

The song is notable for its haunting melody, introspective lyrics, and the legendary guitar solo performed by Eric Clapton. Clapton’s solo is considered one of the greatest in rock history, known for its emotional intensity and technical skill.

While the song was not initially released as a single, it went on to become a fan favorite and a staple of classic rock radio. Its enduring popularity has cemented its place in music history, and it is widely regarded as one of the Beatles’ greatest achievements.

Ultimately, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a moving and powerful song that has struck a chord with fans all across the world. Its impact on the music world cannot be overstated, and it remains a testament to the creative genius and enduring legacy of the Beatles and their remarkable body of work.

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