Recording "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"

Thursday, July 25, 1968 • For The Beatles

Part of


"The Beatles" (aka the White Album) sessions

May 30 - Oct 18, 1968 • Songs recorded during this session appear on The Beatles (Mono)

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the The Beatles (Mono) LP.
Timeline More from year 1968
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Master album


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About

On this day, between 7 pm and 3:15 am, The Beatles started working on George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps“. They rehearsed several takes of it, and George Harrison took the tapes home.

They also recorded a formal take (numbered take 1) performed by Harrison, on vocals and acoustic guitar. A harmonium played by Paul McCartney was then overdubbed on the final bridge and verse. This take was released on Anthology 3 in 1996. It was reused on the Love album in 2006, where it was augmented with a new orchestral backing written by George Martin.

Having withheld his own new composition since the White Album sessions started eight weeks earlier, George Harrison waited no longer and recorded this eloquent demo of While My Guitar Gently Weeps, the first of five songs he contributed to the growing collection. The song would undergo two re-makes between this date and 6 September, when the master was completed, and become significantly heavier in the process – the final version featuring a lead guitar track played by guest Eric Clapton. The first studio recording could scarcely be more different, George singing live to his own acoustic guitar accompaniment (augmented by an organ part played by Paul), and incorporating an additional verse omitted from later version.

From Anthology 3 liner notes

During the research for “The Beatles” 2018 reissue, an unannounced take was rediscovered.

The original tape box and studio documentation mention only one take being recorded on 25 July. What a thrilling surprise to find during the meticulous research for this project that there was a second unannounced take on the tape. It is intended to be just a run-through for Paul to familiarise himself with playing the chords on organ, but it is a gem of a discovery.

From “The Beatles” Super Deluxe edition book (2018)

The Beatles would continue working on the song three weeks later, on August 16, 1968.

Last updated on September 5, 2021

Songs recorded


1.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Written by George Harrison

Recording • Take 1

Album Officially released on Anthology 3


2.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Written by George Harrison

Recording • Unannounced take (take 2)

Album Officially released on The Beatles (50th anniversary boxset)

Staff

Musicians on While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Paul McCartney:
Harmonium
George Harrison:
Acoustic guitar, Vocals

Production staff

George Martin:
Producer
Ken Scott:
Engineer
Richard Lush:
Second Engineer

The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions • Mark Lewisohn

The definitive guide for every Beatles recording sessions from 1962 to 1970.

We owe a lot to Mark Lewisohn for the creation of those session pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - the number of takes for each song, who contributed what, a description of the context and how each session went, various photographies... And an introductory interview with Paul McCartney!

The Beatles Bible

If we like to think, in all modesty, that the Paul McCartney Project is the best online ressource for everything Paul McCartney, The Beatles Bible is for sure the definitive online site focused on the Beatles. There are obviously some overlap in terms of content between the two sites, but also some major differences in terms of approach.

Have a look at https://www.beatlesbible.com/1968/07/25/recording-while-my-guitar-gently-weeps/

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