Updated: Feb 5, 2020
The year is 1968. Martin Luther King has been assassinated, emergency 911 services have just been introduced in the USA, the first Big Mac goes on sale and The Beatles release their ninth official UK studio album ‘The Beatles’. This was later known as ‘The White Album’ by fans who adored the remarkable clarity in which is the simple, yet classic block white sleeve. With some exhaustingly tense sessions, some tracks were cut by just one, two or three of the foursome, rather than the whole group. However, 2018 is luckily set to be an exhilarating year for all Beatles fans. Dressing the shelves on the 9th of November, this year is the first time ‘The White Album’ will be remixed and presented with additional demos and session recordings. The advanced edition has released astonishing new mixes and takes of the monumental song ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’. It incorporates the Esher demo, the acoustic/take 2 version and the 2018 mix which all are unbelievably sensational.
While processing a dignified outcome for the track, George Harrison had the genius idea that prevailed the song’s legacy eternally. As George was a friend of Eric Clapton due to ‘The Yardbirds’ supporting The Beatles back in 1964, Harrison requested for Clapton to play on this one particular track, which for me personally was one of his most honourable decisions in Beatles history. Taking him up on his offer, Eric was free to implement his marvellous expertise and led the song to victory. Every Beatles fan, to mere observers of good music, were expecting a Sgt. Pepper’s type of style to maintain The Beatles commendable compositions, but were left in awe of the new masterpiece that stood before them.
The following takes and mixes are dazzling, with not one omitting pure excellence. We begin with the hearty Esher Demo. At first listen, the track begins with a noticeably more raw, hollow sound to it. It begins with a ‘1,2,3,4 ’ which follows an extraordinarily outstanding guitar opening by Clapton himself. You can almost view the beauty in the backing vocals that so smoothly flow with the charming guitar instrumental that is amplified to a satisfying pitch that is just enough to send you into a serene slumber. It is a stripped back, all alluring masterpiece, that lets the lyrics communicate with your heart and soul. One of my favourites from the three sessions.
Secondly, we have the acoustic/take 2 version. Distinctively, it opens with a overtly different key. Nevertheless, this surely is a nifty take for all immense Beatles fanatics, as the recording is occasionally paused with voice intervals of the band talking and discussing the elements of the song. You can tell from the unwinding tones of Harrison saying ‘maybe we’ll have to get him his own mic’ and then plummeting back into song, is so skilfully executed and what makes this session so special. It is not perfected nor the concluded piece, but is what shows the true brilliance of how great their lyrics and visually really was. While this fails to remain my favoured session of the three, I still believe it so evidently displays the greatness in which The Beatles will forever obtain. With solely a guitar and a voice, this song is proven to be greatly spirited in its original form. Phenomenal!
The last session is the 2018 mix and my favourite of the three. Doubtfully superior to the original, it’s a more deep, authentic and hard-hitting resonance that plunges throughout the entirety of the mix. It’s powerful, engaging and joins all fiery aspects of music in one song. It is beyond anything that has ever been remastered before and is a foolproof gem that should be displayed on shelves and playlists forever more. While experimental, the guitar and piano combine as if it’s an established pair, much like Laurel and Hardy. The harmonies sink into an elegant array that so superbly imprints ‘The White Album’. It fades in and out and really parades a classic rock feel to it that has never been done before. The bass and melodic guitar solos form a collision like the most beautiful car crash ever to be seen. I see elements of Clapton’s band ‘Cream’ in the song, much like a ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ or a ‘White Room’ spin on things. It is more than worth giving a listen!
Overall, the remastered mixes and takes are a sensational success. Beatles fans including myself will be awaiting the November release of these so impeccable sessions and will be anticipating a listen of the newly remastered tracks. Simply one of the most undeniably brilliant sessions The Beatles have ever done. Make sure to keep the 9th of November assigned to your diaries. It will be the number one discussed album of 2018.
Article By Holly Turner