While My Guitar Gently Weeps
October 18, 2015 8:36 PM   Subscribe

June, 1987, Wembley Arena London, While My Guitar Gently Weeps. There are a few artists that you might recognize..
posted by HuronBob (69 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Might want to add a couple of decades to the date.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:45 PM on October 18, 2015


heh..yeah, sorry, 1987...
posted by HuronBob at 8:47 PM on October 18, 2015


...and fix that damn microphone!
posted by klanawa at 8:49 PM on October 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Someone get that pianist some bigger glasses!!
posted by pompomtom at 8:56 PM on October 18, 2015


Respect for the Beatles, but Prince owned the crap our of Clapton.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SFNW5F8K9Y
posted by higginba at 8:57 PM on October 18, 2015 [21 favorites]


[Fixed the date in the post; carry on.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:03 PM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Respect for the Beatles, but Prince owned the crap our of Clapton.

WOW!
posted by hubs at 9:06 PM on October 18, 2015


Is Hunter S. Thompson playing the tambourine? Just a question.
posted by Oyéah at 9:23 PM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ringo! Have a banana!
posted by device55 at 9:35 PM on October 18, 2015


I have a hard time with concert videos like this one. I want to see the whole band. I want to see the individual musicians. I want them both. What I don't what is quick cuts from one person to another - it's distracting and doesn't give you enough time to truly appreciate what's going on.

Ringo looks pretty good. Maybe he really is a ninja...
posted by ashbury at 9:39 PM on October 18, 2015


Is Hunter S. Thompson playing the tambourine? Just a question.

I believe that's Ray Cooper.
posted by oluckyman at 9:41 PM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


higginba: I came here to share that video. I watch it at least once every month or two. It's mesmerizing. I love when Prince throws the guitar up in the air at the end. It appears to just float right up into the sky and never come down, which is entirely possible because Prince.
posted by Jeff Morris at 9:44 PM on October 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


The Purple Wilburys, I'd buy that album. I'd like to see a young Elvis Costellos take on this solo too. One of those manic, angry, string-ripping "I Want You" type deals.
posted by Lorin at 9:53 PM on October 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I love when Prince throws the guitar up in the air at the end. It appears to just float right up into the sky and never come down, which is entirely possible because Prince.

not reliable
posted by thelonius at 12:21 AM on October 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think that Prince-et-al performance had an FPP here at one time, and then was removed from YouTube due to copyright claims. It later resurfaced as a real-deal Rock'n'roll Hall of Fame upload with better quality, which pleased me to no end. In fact, I listened to it just yesterday.
posted by Harald74 at 12:46 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


The band:

George Harrison, lead vocals
Slow Hand (Clapton), guitar
Elton John, piano
Ringo Starr, drums
Phil Collins, drums
Ray Cooper (Elton's drummer), tamborine
Jeff Lynne from ELO, bass
Mike King from Level 42, guitar

There's a couple guys off to the side but I can't make them out & they're not credited.
posted by scalefree at 1:58 AM on October 19, 2015


I love when Prince throws the guitar up in the air at the end. It appears to just float right up into the sky and never come down, which is entirely possible because Prince.


When is someone going to have some GIF fun with the (Blue Jays) Bautista Bat Flip and the Prince Guitar Flip in a head to head for Greatest Flip-Off Ever?
posted by C.A.S. at 2:35 AM on October 19, 2015


Jeff Lynne from ELO, guitar
Mike King from Level 42, bass
posted by IncognitoErgoSum at 2:46 AM on October 19, 2015


Mark King from Level 42, bass.
posted by cromagnon at 2:49 AM on October 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


We'll get there in the end.

Jeff's good on bass, but Mark is awesome.
posted by IncognitoErgoSum at 2:53 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love when Prince throws the guitar up in the air at the end. It appears to just float right up into the sky and never come down, which is entirely possible because Prince.


When is someone going to have some GIF fun with the (Blue Jays) Bautista Bat Flip and the Prince Guitar Flip in a head to head for Greatest Flip-Off Ever?


Don't leave out Krist Novoselic! That one inspired one of my favorite songs.

If anyone is interested, more from the same concert can be found here. Another Beatles tune is the grande finale. I couldn't find where Charles throws anything in the air, though.
posted by TedW at 3:26 AM on October 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I love that performance by Prince, but there's something in his demeanor compared to the other guys on stage there which to me is just summed up in his throwing the guitar.

Just yesterday, by chance, I posted that link on fb with this caption:

And in the category of "world class narcissist performing at a tribute for a fellow guitarist", the nominees are ...
posted by oheso at 4:45 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sounds like Prince decided his guitar wasn't going to weep, not gently anyway.
posted by chavenet at 5:09 AM on October 19, 2015


You've got Jools Holland on keyboard on one side and Mike Lindup from Level 42 on keyboards at the back. The trio of backing singers look like the guys that did some great work with Paul Young.
posted by merocet at 5:17 AM on October 19, 2015


Prince wouldn't have done the monster ego thing if he'd been on stage with a Beatle. Nobody ever would - not even Bono.
posted by colie at 5:54 AM on October 19, 2015


Respect for the Beatles, but Prince owned the crap our of Clapton.

Oh, no. I don't agree with that.

Sounds like Prince decided his guitar wasn't going to weep, not gently anyway.

And this is why, Clapton's version was a better fit to the song. Well, that and it was just great to see and hear George Harrison in that version.
posted by SteveInMaine at 5:59 AM on October 19, 2015


I love Prince, but Clapton's original 1968 solo on the song is a small masterpiece and in fact becomes the gesture that the whole song pivots around (which could well have been a bit dirgey otherwise). I can't put it better than Walter Everett:

"...the phrases are composed with the surest and most measured rise in intensity, rhythmic activity, tonal drive, and registral climb..."
posted by colie at 6:07 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Very nice, but is there anything uglier than the 80s chorused Stratocaster? Possibly the least rock and roll sound of all time.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:11 AM on October 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


What I have always liked in this clip is that Ringo is wearing a badge.
Like he needs one?? In case someone thought he was Yasser Arafat??
posted by MtDewd at 6:35 AM on October 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm weird about the Beatles. This is one of the few songs of theirs that I really like. Thanks for this!
posted by A dead Quaker at 6:44 AM on October 19, 2015


looks like Mike Lindup from Level 42 is also in there playing keyboards. You see him briefly near the end. And why didn't they ever show the backup singers?
posted by sineater at 6:51 AM on October 19, 2015


Respect for the Beatles, but Prince owned the crap our of Clapton.

Yo higginba, I’m really happy for you, and Imma let you finish, but Jake Shimabukuro owns this song forever. Just saying.
posted by The Bellman at 7:19 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Only Prince remembers he's a Rock Star and that what Rock Stars are paid to do is Rock. (And get sponsored by a major enterprise Linux distro.)

Everyone else on that video, and on the FPP, is being a session musician and thinking about their dinner.

Jake Shimabukuro isn't thinking or remembering to be anything. He is being a musician, most excellently.
posted by Devonian at 7:42 AM on October 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Very nice, but is there anything uglier than the 80s chorused Stratocaster? Possibly the least rock and roll sound of all time.

Well, 80s gonna 80s. But I could have used less of the Jeff Lynne production sheen on the last part of George Harrison's career.
posted by thelonius at 7:56 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I saw the lamentably late Jeff Healey do his version of this live a couple of times, and I've always loved his soloing on it.

Very nice, but is there anything uglier than the 80s chorused Stratocaster?

Yeah, it kind of de-rocks things a bit.

Here he is performing it on Letterman in 1990, employing some pretty lush chorus.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:29 AM on October 19, 2015


> Here he is performing it on Letterman in 1990, employing some pretty lush chorus.

Wow, they demoted Anton Fig to tambourine for that performance. You didn't see that very often on the NBC show.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 8:39 AM on October 19, 2015


There's a whole genre here, isn't there? The genre of "identifiable but tired-looking rock stars playing 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' in tribute or charity concerts together on stage specifically for the purpose of making people in the audience go 'oh WOW, LOOK who it IS!' and then run home and buy the special-edition VHS boxed set." At least Prince has some life in him in that one video somebody posted, but the whole enterprise is still a sham – I mean, it's at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so we knew that going in, I guess. What's hilarious to me is that this particular genre has been extended, as of 2007, to include aging rap stars.

If we're going to do live retreads of classic 60s songs, maybe we could do them more like this.
posted by koeselitz at 8:54 AM on October 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oooh. Never seen that XTC vid. Barry! The Partridge Gobharp! (Europa and the Pirate Twins, anyone?) Shambolic funk! Incomprehensible shouting!

It doesn't work, by god it doesn't, but boy is it magnificent in that failure.
posted by Devonian at 9:28 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


that XTC vid! Shambolic funk!

Happy Mondays?
posted by colie at 9:56 AM on October 19, 2015


Ladies and gentlemen, Devo.
posted by The Tensor at 10:07 AM on October 19, 2015


Ladies and gentlemen, Toto.
posted by swift at 10:10 AM on October 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I love that performance by Prince, but there's something in his demeanor compared to the other guys on stage there which to me is just summed up in his throwing the guitar.

You can tell he is barely restraining himself from going center stage, knocking over a monitor and going full Purple Rain on it.
posted by madajb at 10:19 AM on October 19, 2015


The Bellman: “Yo higginba, I’m really happy for you, and Imma let you finish, but Jake Shimabukuro owns this song forever. Just saying.”

I usually have a hard time liking this tired song, but that's actually quite neat. In the rare moments when I actually want to hear this tune, I sometimes find myself enjoying Rob Culbertson's cover on his Chapman stick, which even for a Chapman stick solo is rather accomplished.
posted by koeselitz at 10:33 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Spineshank does a nice metal cover of this as well.
posted by jonmc at 10:40 AM on October 19, 2015


Respect for the Beatles, but Prince owned the crap our of Clapton

Perhaps I might be persuaded to agree, if only the song were "While My Guitar Breaks Down In Histrionic Fits Of Uncontrollable Sobbing".

Horses for courses, people.
posted by flabdablet at 10:49 AM on October 19, 2015


Clapton [was] God. Isolated solo from the original. The vibrato at the start!
posted by colie at 10:54 AM on October 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Respect for the Beatles, but Prince owned the crap our of Clapton.

It's always entertaining to see everyone's reactions to Prince on that stage...I imagine they played it together prior to that show, but nobody expected THAT...there were a few times they looked like..."Oh, he's still going...ok..."

I am always amused at how many top 100 guitarist lists either have Prince really far down or not represented at all. The guy is, arguably, the greatest overall musician of our time.
posted by Chuffy at 10:55 AM on October 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Listen to the sustain on that.
posted by Chuffy at 10:58 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


You can have all those guys, here's a weeping guitar: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ain't Gonna Give Up On Love Just a sound check with nobody lookin'
posted by effluvia at 11:18 AM on October 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Prince is an amazing guitarist if a bit showy, way better than is apparent in higginba's link. Clapton peaked somewhere around Layla, then nosedived. IMO, he's been phoning it in for decades.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 1:46 PM on October 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's funny, the first time I was exposed to the idea that Prince was a great lead guitarist was via an interview with Eric Clapton, where they asked him whose playing impressed him at the time. It was news to me; I thought of him as a writer/producer/singer/bandleader, not a virtuoso player.
posted by thelonius at 1:48 PM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Clapton has indeed been phoning it in for decades, but he deserves credit for working with Fender to create the Clapton Strat as far back as 1985. Pete Townshend has used almost exclusively the original Lace pickup version on stage for years. IMO even in its current watered-down state, by far the best electric guitar you can buy under 2000 dollars.
posted by colie at 2:08 PM on October 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Re: the notion of Ray Cooper as "Elton's drummer," I actually first became aware of him when he was touring with Clapton in the "24 Nights" era. The uncut rendition of "Sunshine of Your Love" from that set includes a really fantastic drum solo from Cooper, culminating, if memory serves, with a fucking GONG.

Also: first footage I've seen in a while of Clapton playing a Les Paul.
posted by uberchet at 5:06 PM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


colie: “Clapton has indeed been phoning it in for decades, but he deserves credit for working with Fender to create the Clapton Strat as far back as 1985. Pete Townshend has used almost exclusively the original Lace pickup version on stage for years. IMO even in its current watered-down state, by far the best electric guitar you can buy under 2000 dollars.”

This baffles me. Why does anyone pay more than $500 for a solid-body electric guitar? It seems distinctly similar to the mumbo-jumbo that audiophiles tend to buy into when they're paying thousands for a cable that supposedly shields your signal from alien space rays or whatever.

I mean, what have we got? We've got three potentiometers, a five-position switch, three pickups, and a capacitor on the upper tone knob – that's literally all we're talking about. You buy some fancy-ass versions of all of those, get gold-plated wiring all through it or whatever – hell, get some of that idiotic silver-core wire that the audiophiles love – and you still aren't up past two hundred bucks, most of that being for pickups (which are also quite overpriced, but whatever). It certainly doesn't need to be manufactured by Albert Einstein himself – even somebody who knows almost nothing about electronics can do it in an afternoon. The wiring diagram is very simple – seriously, I've done it myself, and anybody who plays a guitar ought to try sometime.

So, then we talk about – is it the neck? The fingerboard? Is the fingerboard made of some insanely rare jungle wood? Doesn't rosewood work fine? – those fingerboards cost all of fifty bucks each, maybe a little more if you want to get fancy. Is it the way the thing is molded together? I saw an awesome unused solid-wood body for a Strat clone the other day in the music shop, a beautiful single-piece thing with the neck carved out of the same piece and a nicely inlaid rosewood fingerboard, for $200. So it can't be the whole body construction you're paying for.

There isn't magic in there anywhere. You have to be paying for something. And unlike an acoustic instrument, a solid-body guitar is an instrument the common musician can take apart and put back together without much trouble. So the fact that we pay so much above the cost of the actual parts is really, really weird.

I honestly just don't get it.
posted by koeselitz at 9:26 PM on October 19, 2015


i've bought, played, and loved guitars for under $500 and for way over $500. There most definitely is magic in there. It is well more than the sum of its parts (for example, time - the way wood ages, the way the finish ages and/or just simply fails, etc.).

Despite his being an insanely gifted musician, I think the Prince rendition of WMGGW is more flash than substance, and here's why - while what he is playing is undoubtedly bad-ass, it is still fairly generic - there's nothing about it that belongs specifically to THAT song. Clapton's solo, from it's epic and repeated minor third see-sawing bends to its rising blues licks, its return to the motif of the minor third bend, and the ultimate resolution to the tonic which becomes major instead of minor, is every bit a composition as the song itself, and indeed it is WORTHY of the song itself. Prince, for all of his bad-assedness, could have been playing (the shit out of) any A minor tune. Clapton was playing THAT song, and only THAT song, and that's what separates the men from the boys.

That said, the definitive version is George's demo.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:40 PM on October 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think if a solid body guitar is put together carefully by USA labour, using hardware that will last decades and wood selected for its beauty, and lacquered properly, then 2k is not outrageous for an instrument. And upper bracket American guitars sell so readily on eBay that you can basically look on them as rentals too.
posted by colie at 11:20 PM on October 19, 2015


I think that Prince-et-al performance had an FPP here at one time

It did!

It's where I first saw that video and by the end of it I was sighing dreamily and writing 'PSEUDO LUVS PRINCE 4EVA' in my sparkly journal. Witnesses claim actual cartoon hearts emerged from my eyes, but I offer no comment on those allegations. Anyway, it's great, everyone who has not should go watch it at once.
posted by pseudonymph at 2:07 AM on October 20, 2015


This baffles me. Why does anyone pay more than $500 for a solid-body electric guitar?

You have also laid out the argument for "why does anybody pay $2000 for a Mac instead of building a PC for half the price." Ergonomics and convenience, mostly. And also that well-made solid-body guitars aren't really available at the "cheap" price point. I've played a lot of guitars and, honestly, the cheap ones really are all deficient in some way. If you can mass-produce, distribute, and support a really good guitar for $500, you'll make a fortune.

(That said, no, I probably wouldn't pay $2000 for an electric guitar, either; you do reach a point where you're paying for something other than performance, but in today's market it's a lot higher than $500. Also I hate the way Fenders play; I own one because I needed the long-scale-length, single-coil sound in my arsenal, but it's not particularly fun to play.)
posted by uncleozzy at 5:25 AM on October 20, 2015


koezelitz, how much do you think a Stick should cost?
posted by thelonius at 6:09 AM on October 20, 2015


Heh. Well, a lot less than they cost now – Chapman stick prices are mostly driven by their patent at this point, I would think.

uncleozzy: I feel like it's different from "Mac vs PC" if only because, unlike with computers, anybody who knows how to use a soldering iron and a screwdriver can literally build a better guitar for much less. The pickups are available for purchase online, and the extraordinarily simple wiring diagrams are freely available from an easy google search. There is a degree to which that is strongly discouraged by an industry that wants to maintain the mystical allure of guitars.

uncleozzy: “If you can mass-produce, distribute, and support a really good guitar for $500, you'll make a fortune.”

I don't doubt there are a lot of people who do, actually. Those guitars just don't say "Fender" on the headstock – which knocks a lot off the price tag straight off.

“Also I hate the way Fenders play; I own one because I needed the long-scale-length, single-coil sound in my arsenal, but it's not particularly fun to play.”

I always wanted a Telecaster, to be honest; that's a lot nicer tone and feel than a Strat, to my mind. Then one day I realized how stupid-easy it was to actually just build one. So I did – grabbed a crap Ibanez Strat clone for $50 at a pawn shop, ordered some solid pickups, cut out a pickguard from some wood I had lying around, drilled the right holes, and wired it right up. Took a few afternoons. I feel like if you did this carefully you'd invariably end up with better results than a factory-built Telecaster costing in the many thousands of dollars.

I mean, that is what Clapton was doing in the 60s, right?
posted by koeselitz at 8:49 AM on October 20, 2015


have you ever played a tele or a strat from the late 50s / early 60s? it's pretty miraculous.

in the 60s clapton was playing late 50s gibsons. while they hadn't yet skyrocketed the way they have today thanks to the vintage market, they were still by no means inexpensive instruments.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:39 AM on October 20, 2015


"Chapman stick prices are mostly driven by their patent at this point"

Given the relatively short life of patents, I'd be surprised if this were true. The Stick was introduced what, 40+ years a go?
posted by uberchet at 9:46 AM on October 20, 2015


We Brits couldn't buy American guitars in the 50s due to trade tariffs, so Brian May's dad famously built him one in their shed. Got to be the world's greatest dad.
posted by colie at 10:02 AM on October 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


What's more, he's still playing it.
posted by flabdablet at 10:57 AM on October 20, 2015


uberchet: “Given the relatively short life of patents, I'd be surprised if this were true. The Stick was introduced what, 40+ years a go?”

Huh. Yeah, you're right - surprising nobody's made a cheaper Chapman stick then. Fingerboards are cheap as hell at this point. All you really need to do is strap two of them together.

fingers_of_fire: “in the 60s clapton was playing late 50s gibsons. while they hadn't yet skyrocketed the way they have today thanks to the vintage market, they were still by no means inexpensive instruments.”

Yeah, I was wrong – he didn't start cannibalizing old Strats until 1970. But that is what he did, even if he had another guy put the parts in there – he took pieces from guitars he liked and put them all together.

I wonder how hard it'd be to build good pickups on your own. That's the source of any magically wonderful old vintage sound, I think – really good pickups. You can just buy those old vintage pickups if you like, too.
posted by koeselitz at 11:30 AM on October 20, 2015


The way you make a $500 guitar is, you cut corners everywhere you can. Cheaper everything, lower quality standards. Fretwork that's good enough for a kid in his bedroom. Manufacture it in Indonesian factories to save on labor.
posted by thelonius at 12:42 PM on October 20, 2015


Actually that's how you make a $200-$300 guitar. The Mexican made Fenders are about $500. I played a Mexican J-bass for years; it played great and I loved it, but I did spend a few hundred dollars upgrading it.
posted by thelonius at 12:44 PM on October 20, 2015


Yeah, honestly the Strat I play is just fine, as Strats go, and it ran $550 or so. Mexican Strat with American pickups. Plays okay, sounds great. I played Strats at every price level, and the fit and finish on the pricey ones wasn't any better. But the stock Mexican pickups are hot garbage; completely flat and dead. Still don't know how anybody plays the models with vintage-style tight-radius fretboards, though.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:50 PM on October 20, 2015


I put Lindy Fralin pickups in the Jazz bass, and a Babbicz bridge. So that's about $300 worth of upgrades and well worth it.
posted by thelonius at 1:41 PM on October 20, 2015


« Older a portfolio of kinetic art   |   Life is unfair Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments