Observations placeholder

George Harrison - While my guitar gently weeps

Identifier

015384

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is a song written by George Harrison, first recorded by the Beatles in 1968 for the "White Album". The song features a lead guitar solo by Eric Clapton, although he was not formally credited on the album.

Inspiration for the song came to Harrison when reading the I Ching, [there is an entry for the I Ching on the site].  Harrison committed to write a song based on the first words he saw upon opening a random book. Those words were “gently weeps”, and he immediately began writing the song. As he said:

"I wrote "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" at my mother's house in Warrington. I was thinking about the Chinese I Ching, the Book of Changes... The Eastern concept is that whatever happens is all meant to be, and that there's no such thing as coincidence — every little item that's going down has a purpose.

"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" was a simple study based on that theory. I decided to write a song based on the first thing I saw upon opening any book — as it would be relative to that moment, at that time. I picked up a book at random, opened it, saw 'gently weeps', then laid the book down again and started the song."

 A demo recorded at George's home in Esher includes an unused verse:

I look at the trouble and see that it's raging,

While my guitar gently weeps.

As I'm sitting here, doing nothing but ageing,

Still, my guitar gently weeps.

As well as an unused line in the very beginning:

The problems you sow, are the troubles you're reaping,

Still, my guitar gently weeps.

This line was eventually omitted which is rather sad, as this is a stronger version and certainly more apposite and closer to the I Ching

An early acoustic guitar and organ demo of the song featured a slightly different third 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 ageing,

Still, my guitar gently weeps.

Again this has significant symbolic meaning and it is a shame it was removed.

The 'sleeping' refers to 'love' sleeping - it is spiritual.  He did manage to get some symbolism in though.

Floor and sweeping is not some silly throw away line Floor = Earth and there may be also a side reference to the sweep - someone who sweeps away the black.  He thought intellect and cleverness and ego needed to go.

A description of the experience

The Beatles-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
I look at you all
Still my guitar gently weeps

Oh, oh, oh
oh oh oh oh oh oh oh
oh oh, oh oh, oh oh
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
yeah yeah yeah yeah

The source of the experience

Beatles, the

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Commonsteps

References