Beatles Release Acoustic Version of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’
The track premiered at Rolling Stone and, like the take that came out on Anthology 3, it features Harrison on acoustic guitar, with Paul McCartney on harmonium and a different last verse: “I look from the wings at the play you are staging / While my guitar gently weeps / As I’m sitting here doing nothing but aging / Still my guitar gently weeps.”
Three weeks after this 1968 recording -- and after more than 100 takes of another Harrison song, "Not Guilty," which ended up not making the final album -- the Beatles returned to the song with a new arrangement, with Harrison bringing in Eric Clapton for the guitar solo.
Another outtake of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" featuring Clapton is also included on the Super Deluxe Edition. That version concludes with a lengthy outro solo by Clapton, but breaks down when Harrison tries to emulate Smokey Robinson's falsetto vocals. “It’s okay,” he laughs. “I tried to do a Smokey, and I just aren’t Smokey.”
As reissue producer Giles Martin noted, Clapton's involvement served as Harrison's “way of telling the others, ‘The best guitarist on the planet likes my songs. I’m here,’" after years of McCartney and John Lennon giving short-shrift to Harrison's material.
Arriving on Nov. 9, the Super Deluxe Edition of The Beatles contains six CDs -- featuring a new stereo mix of the double album, 27 demos recorded at Harrison's house in Esher and three discs of outtakes from the sessions -- and a Blu-ray audio disc.