The Beatles Song Eric Clapton Played Anonymously To Help George Harrison
George Harrison has mostly been depicted as the ‘quiet’ or the ‘overshadowed’ one in the Beatles, as John Lennon and Paul McCartney shone bright like stars by putting themselves and their work forward at every chance. Since the band’s formation, they have considered Harrison their little brother due to his age. When the band was first formed, Lennon and Ringo Starr were 23, McCartney was 21, and Harrison was only 20. Although there wasn’t a huge age difference, their attitude was different towards the guitarist.
The band members expressed their feelings towards Harrison saying that he was sometimes bothering them by acting like a ‘kid.’ Even though he was McCartney’s friend before joining the band, it took some time for Lennon to consider him his ‘equal.’ In general, McCartney and Lennon dominated the band with both their leadership capabilities and songwriting skills. However, that doesn’t mean the other two Beatles didn’t have any characteristics that helped them stand out.
How Did Harrison Prove Himself To The Band?
‘The Quiet Beatle’ wrote a song in 1968 to show his worth to the band. Although he had written other songs for the band before, this specific song marked his maturing and proving himself to the rest of the band members. ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ became one of the most known songs of the Beatles and received countless positive comments.
One of the most significant aspects that helped improve this song was the one and only Eric Clapton. Clapton was summoned by Harrison to help him out with this song anonymously. He didn’t receive credits for his part at the time, but it was revealed later, and Clapton’s performance was ranked No. 42 in Guitar World’s 2008 ‘100 Greatest Guitar Solos’ list.
The song was also a huge success and took its place in Rolling Stone’s ‘500 Greatest Songs of All Time.’ ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ was also performed live by Harrison and Clapton later in 1971 and 1992. After Harrison’s death, Clapton, Starr, and McCartney performed it in the ‘Concert for George’ in 2002.
Clapton talked about his unanimous contribution in 1998:
“I played guitar on one track. It was an anonymous venture, but George was struggling with the two big boys in the group, and he needed some backup on one of his songs, and that was it.”
He mentioned that working with the Beatles was very inspiring:
“I mean, to watch those guys work in those days was pretty inspiring.”
You can watch the 1998 interview and listen to the song in ‘Concert for George’ below.