The Beatles - While My Guitar Gently Weeps - 1968

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While My Guitar Gently Weeps is a song by the English rock band The Beatles, featured on their 1968 double album The Beatles, also known as the "White Album". It was written by George Harrison, the band's lead guitarist, and is one of his best-known compositions for the Beatles. The song's recording also featured a notable guest appearance by Eric Clapton, a close friend of Harrison.

Background and Composition

While My Guitar Gently Weeps was inspired by the I Ching, an ancient Chinese book of changes, which Harrison consulted randomly. The book led him to write a song based on the first words he saw, which were "gently weeps." He crafted the lyrics to reflect his perception of the world's problems and the need for love and compassion. The song’s composition merges Eastern philosophy with Western musical elements.

Recording and Production

The recording of While My Guitar Gently Weeps was marked by internal strife within the Beatles, making the collaboration with Eric Clapton significant. Clapton's guitar work on the track is highly praised and considered one of his finest performances. The song was recorded in several takes, with the final version being markedly different from Harrison's original concept.

Reception and Legacy

The song has been widely acclaimed for its emotional depth and complex musicality. It is often cited as a highlight of the White Album and of Harrison's contributions to the Beatles. The track has been covered by numerous artists and remains a staple in rock music history.

External links for more insights:

MOOCit Wikipedia: While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

In which album did "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" appear? (The Beatles (White Album)) (!Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band) (!Abbey Road) (!Rubber Soul)

Who played the lead guitar on the song? (Eric Clapton) (!John Lennon) (!George Harrison) (!Paul McCartney)

What inspired George Harrison to write "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"? (I Ching) (!A personal heartbreak) (!A dream) (!A painting)

In what year was "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" released? (1968) (!1967) (!1969) (!1970)

Which Beatles member wrote "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"? (George Harrison) (!John Lennon) (!Paul McCartney) (!Ringo Starr)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

Which Beatles album was George Harrison's first to include more than two of his songs? (Revolver) (!Rubber Soul) (!Help!) (!A Hard Day's Night)

Before the Beatles, George Harrison was a member of which group? (The Quarrymen) (!The Shadows) (!The Hollies) (!The Yardbirds)

In addition to guitar, which Indian instrument did George Harrison famously incorporate in Beatles songs? (Sitar) (!Tabla) (!Veena) (!Bansuri)

What was George Harrison's nickname within The Beatles? (The Quiet Beatle) (!The Funny Beatle) (!The Cute Beatle) (!The Smart Beatle)

Which of the following albums was released as a solo album by George Harrison? (All Things Must Pass) (!Abbey Road) (!Revolver) (!Rubber Soul)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

What does the guitar in "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" symbolize? (The world's problems) (!A lost love) (!A personal struggle) (!The passing of time)

How does the song describe the world? (Asleep) (!Awake) (!Changing) (!Dying)

What emotion does the song predominantly convey? (Sadness) (!Joy) (!Anger) (!Hope)

Which word completes the lyric: "I look at the world and I notice it's ________"? (Turning) (!Sleeping) (!Crying) (!Laughing)

Which of the following lines is NOT in the song? (!"Every mistake, we must surely be learning") ("With every mistake, we must surely be learning") ("I don't know why nobody told you how to unfold your love") ("They bought and sold you")


George Harrison Wrote "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
Eric Clapton Played lead guitar on the song
1968 Year of the song's release
I Ching Inspired the song's creation
The White Album Album featuring the song

Open Tasks


  1. Explore the Lyrics: Analyze the lyrics of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and write a paragraph about its themes.
  2. Musical Analysis: Listen to the song and identify the different instruments you hear.
  3. Artistic Interpretation: Draw or paint an artwork inspired by the song.


  1. Comparison Exercise: Compare "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" to another Beatles song and discuss the differences in style and message.
  2. Research the Era: Research the historical context of 1968 and write how it might have influenced the song.
  3. Cover Version: Create your own cover version of the song, using any instrument or software.


  1. Songwriting Challenge: Write a song inspired by the I Ching, like George Harrison did.
  2. Music Video Production: Create a music video for "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."
  3. In-depth Analysis: Write an essay on the influence of Eastern philosophy on George Harrison's songwriting.

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Oral Exam

  1. Influence of Collaboration: Discuss how Eric Clapton's involvement influenced the song's style and reception.
  2. Comparative Analysis: Compare the musical styles of George Harrison and John Lennon within the Beatles.
  3. Lyrics Interpretation: Explain the symbolic meaning of the guitar "weeping" in the song.
  4. Historical Impact: Evaluate the impact of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" on rock music and culture.
  5. Personal Reflection: Share how the song personally resonates with you and why.

OERs on the Topic


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