“Acoustic Version — Take 2” and 3″ of While My Guitar Gently Weeps with only Harrison on guitar and McCartney on harmonium taken from upcoming White Album box set.
White Album expansive deluxe reissue will be out November 9th Capitol/UMe, it boasts a generous helping of previously unreleased material, including 27 (!) early acoustic demos and 50 session takes.
Ahead of its official release, one of those acoustic compositions has been unearthed. The track is a stripped-back rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, originally recorded on July 25th, 1968.
The track was recorded before Harrison brought in Eric Clapton to play the lead guitar part and legitimize the song to his bandmates
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (Acoustic Version, Take 2) was recorded on July 25th, 1968, with just George on guitar and Paul on harmonium. It’s a dark and meditative draft of a still-evolving song, as Paul follows along, learning the chords. George tells the Abbey Road crew, “Maybe you’d have to give him his own mike.”
(A previous run-through from the same day was on Anthology 3, but this take was just discovered during the research for this project.) George sings original lines he ended up discarding: “I look from the wings at the play you are staging / As I’m sitting here doing nothing but aging.”
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” premiering at Rolling Stone. It’s an early acoustic take, as George Harrison tinkers with the ballad that would turn into one of his most powerful statements. Like so many moments on the new box set, it’s the Beatles in full-blast experimental mode — a revelatory listen that makes you hear new mysteries in music you thought you already knew inside out.
The Beatles didn’t go back to “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” until three weeks after this acoustic draft. In the meantime, they toiled over George’s “Not Guilty” — a song that went through 102 takes and still got axed, which sums up the torment of the five-month sessions. (“Not Guilty” didn’t see the light of day until over a decade later, when an understandably traumatized George finally put it on a 1979 solo record.) “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” wasn’t finished until September, when he brought in a special guest on lead guitar — his best friend Eric Clapton. The box has a jam with the full band (and Clapton) rocking out, until George blows it by reaching for a soulful Smokey Robinson-style high note he can’t hit. “It’s okay,” he laughs. “I tried to do a Smokey, and I just aren’t Smokey.”(Rolling Stone.com)