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Eric Clapton played lead guitar on this song. He and George Harrison were good friends, but George had to convince him to come to the studio because Clapton was worried the other Beatles wouldn't want him there. Clapton's presence eased the mood in the studio at a tense time for The Beatles. They were at each other's throats during recording of The White Album, but they all relaxed when Clapton showed up.
Harrison often had to fight to get his songs on the albums. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were not interested in this at first, but came around when Harrison brought Clapton to the studio.
According to A Hard Day's Write
by Steve Turner, Harrison was reading I Ching
, the Chinese book of changes, and decided to write a song about the first words he saw, which were "Gently Weeps." (thanks, Jonathan - Johnstown, PA)
This was originally recorded as an acoustic ballad with just Harrison on acoustic guitar and Paul McCartney on organ. This version can be found on some bootlegs and on The Beatles Anthology 3. (thanks, Stefanie magura - Rock Hill, SC)
This was the first song Ringo played on after leaving the band in frustration a few weeks earlier. He returned to find flowers on his drums to welcome him back.
The guitar Clapton used on this was a Les Paul. Later in his career, he switched to a Fender Stratocaster.
Even though this was not a hit, it is one of the most enduring Beatles songs. It remains popular on Classic Rock radio.
Clapton became good friends with Lennon, and played with him on some of his solo work. When Harrison threatened to leave The Beatles in 1969, Lennon was ready to replace him with Clapton.
Jeff Healy covered this song on his 1990 album Hell To Pay. (thanks, Jay Fitzgerald - Saskatoon, Canada)
In the Las Vegas show, LOVE, this song is included. In the show they use the Anthology version with a cello added. George Harrison came up with the idea for LOVE, though he died before the show was ever performed. (thanks, Breanna - Henderson, NV)
Carlos Santana covered the song on his 2010 album Guitar Heaven. His version features vocals by India.Arie and cello by Yo-Yo Ma. "When I think of that song," Arie told Rolling Stone, "I always had this vision of George Harrison being at home with his wife and his kids, and going in at five o'clock in the morning and playing his guitar to himself. I imagined that and put a sensual energy on it."
Charlie Benante of Anthrax
The drummer for Anthrax is also a key songwriter. He explains how the group puts their songs together and tells the stories behind some of their classics.
Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash
The Wishbone Ash guitarist on how touring with The Who inspired one of their most enduring songs, and why they moved to America at the peak of their powers.
Mike Watt - "History Lesson, Pt. 2"
Mike Watt of the Minutemen tells the story of the song that became an Indie Rock touchstone. It's also the story of what Mike calls "The Movement."