On November 29, 2002, the first anniversary of George Harrison’s death at age 58, an impressive assemblage of the former Beatle’s band mates, family members and pals gathered at London’s Royal Albert Hall to pay tribute to his life and music.
That event—which was released in 2003 on CD and DVD as The Concert for George—featured performances by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Ravi Shankar, Tom Petty, Joe Brown, Jeff Lynne, Albert Lee, Ray Cooper, Dhani Harrison, Jim Keltner and many more.
Near the end of the show, Clapton (playing one of his “Crash” Fender Strats) took lead vocals on Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” With McCartney on piano, Starr on drums and Clapton making a serious attempt to recreate his guitar parts from the Beatles’ original 1968 recording, it was the closest thing possible to a Beatles reunion. Even Preston—who recorded with the Beatles throughout 1969 and can be heard on Abbey Road and Let It Be—joined in on organ.
Besides the original studio recording, Harrison and Clapton performed “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” several times throughout the years, including the Concert for Bangladesh in 1971, the Prince’s Trust Rock Gala in 1987 and during Harrison and Clapton’s joint tour of Japan in 1991.
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