Written by George Harrison and appearing on the 1968 Beatles album, The White Album, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is a perfect example of a “trance song” — a song that repeats in a manner that puts listeners into a highly receptive, relaxed state, not unlike being in a trance.
Over the trance-like structure rides a set of amazing guitar solos. In the original, an uncredited Eric Clapton provided the main solo. Clapton and Harrison were good friends, and Clapton was reluctant to come to the studio, worried the other Beatles would resent his presence. Instead, they relaxed with him there, and also warmed to this song — which they has been resisting — once Clapton was added.
I’ve selected for today a version from 2004, played in honor of George Harrison’s individual induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Here, another good friend of his — Tom Petty — takes the role of the main singer, with Harrison’s son Dhani providing acoustic rhythm guitar and backing vocals. After a sizzling solo by Marc Mann — an underappreciated musician — Prince enters to lay down one of the most memorable guitar solos of this century, leaving with his trademark flair as well. There are licks in this solo that are so lovely, my jaw drops every time.