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While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison [Paperback]

Simon Leng , George Harrison
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 2006
(Book). Far from being "the quiet one," George Harrison was a writer and arranger of terrific power and beauty, and his guitar playing was fundamental to the Beatles' sound and success. Now fully revised and expanded, this new edition of While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison is the most comprehensive evaluation of George Harrison's musical career ever published. Treating each of Harrison's songs with unprecedented analysis, author Simon Leng reveals Harrison's eclectic approach from teenage Nashville twang through Indian raga, psychedelia, gospel, soul, and pure pop and thoroughly defines Harrison's role in the Beatles. First-hand accounts of the Concert for Bangladesh and the making of All Things Must Pass take the reader deep into the most fertile and controversial periods of Harrison's long solo career that culminated with Brainwashed . Enhanced with insights from key figures who worked closely with Harrison throughout his extraordinary career, While My Guitar Gently Weeps is a remarkably stirring study and portrait of a great artist whose musical and spiritual quest changed the lives of millions of people around the world while redefining popular music and rock 'n' roll.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intensely George Harrison! July 4 2006
By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 500 REVIEWER
This is a book every Beatles' fan should have. Simple as that.

I like the way Leng has documented in almost painstaking detail the music of George Harrison. The former Beatle did let his guitar do most of the talking; he was a phenomenal guitarist and a nonpareil lyricist. Leng does an extraordinary job of pulling together the persona of George Harrison together with his music; an almost yin-yang relationship at times based on this book.

Leng has done a good job of researching his material; Harrison's concert dates, tours and song reviews are provided. The former Beatle's affinity for Eastern religion/philosophy is duly noted in this work and how it molded him and his music. Many credit George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, the man who taught him how to play the sitar for merging Eastern and Western musical styles to create something unique and wonderful.

It is plain that Leng respects George Harrison, the man and the artist and those who played major roles in his life. This is truly an excellent work on the youngest Beatle that will leave readers thinking about him for a very long time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing Tome that draws you in July 12 2004
I was given this book when I was convalescing in hospital. To be honest I would not have chosen a book about the life and music of George Harrison. However, from the very first chapter I found myself being drawn along a path of exploration about the life's work of George, a person whom I now realise had a tremendous influence on the musical tastes of my entire generation (I'm 52) and the generations that have come after me.
Sure, before reading the book I knew who many of the influential characters were such as Ravi Shankar, John Barham, Eric Clapton and of course the Beatles. But I didn't realise how closely their lives were intertwined and how their geniuses spun off each other.
Most of all I was struck by the spiritual influences on George. How he wasn't really searching for money or fame. It was the music and it was pursuing excellence as a means to knowing one's inner self.
Simon Leng's writing is concise, witty, even satyrical in places. At the same time the author shows himself to be very learned, thoroughly researched and very organised in terms of discography, cross references and building his line of argument in a chronological timeframe.
'The Music of George Harrison : While My Guitar Gently Weeps' by Simon Leng is easy to read, it keeps your interest and it leaves you with a feeling of enrichment.
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By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 500 REVIEWER
This book is truly a masterpiece and will delight all readers, from the inveterate George Harrison fans to people just becoming familiar with his works. Leng has a real flair for written expression and research. His extensive knowledge of Eastern music and how Harrison incorporated Eastern styles into his music enrich this work. Leng offers extensive coverage to people who influenced the late guitarist such as Klaus Voorman, an artist who had known George since the inception of the Beatles and who later drew the 1966 album cover for "Revolver," pianist John Barhman and Ravi Shankar, the man who taught George to play the sitar.
Leng plainly respects the intelligence of his readers and his writing is clear, clean and crisp. There is no extraneous matter. Leng has a gift for piquing the interest and curiosity of readers. In reading this, one wants to know more about John Barham and the other people who influenced George Harrison. Leng's work is expansive; he excites interest and curiosity in an almost "ripple" effect form; each person named in his book "interlocks" in the way they influenced George Harrison. It is this approach that maintains readers' interest. Leng has researched his information well and his respect for George and the many people who influenced him and his art comes through plainly in this work. I like the way Leng accepts and acknowledges George, warts and all and the musical analysis he provides in this work.
The writing's on the wall - try some, buy some and please try and buy this book! This is a superior work!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks to Simon Leng June 16 2003
Simon Leng's book not only provides wonderful insight to George Harrison's music, but manages to do so in a thoughtful, informed and unbiased manner. Leng's knowledge of Indian music and its application in Harrison's work is particularly welcome in light of the many critics, Iam MacDonald in particular, who overlooked Harrison's talents in their haste to credit the Beatles' success to the genius of John Lennon. In addition, Leng refutes much of the criticism heaped on Harrison's work in light of commentary given by musicians who toured with Harrison and documentary footage of live performances. Even so, Leng never excuses all of Harrison's shortcomings nor forgets to acknowledge his indebtedness to other artists.
This is a very enjoyable book, and one could only wish Leng had been able to include material on Brainwashed and the Concert for George given in his honor at Albert Hall. The inclusion of drawings by George's longtime friend and fellow musician Klaus Voorman are a wonderful addition. Read this work near your stereo, and have ready George's "I, Me, Mine" for additional reference.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ring Out The Old, Ring In The New! March 29 2003
After some pretty dismal biographies, George Harrison is finally receiving the responsible, in-depth look that he has always deserved. Despite the title, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is actually a survey of Harrison's woefully underrated solo career. The Beatles aren't neglected entirely (of course), but fine discs such as 33 1/3, George Harrison and Dark Horse are finally given the attention that they merit. And for fans of All Things Must Pass, this book is a godsend.
The author's love for George's music is obvious from the beginning. Leng makes a strong case for Harrison's influence on the fusion of rock & world music, and proves to my mind that George was the most eclectic Beatle. Rock, jazz, English folk, country, slide blues, electronic, rockabilly, Caribbean, Latin, Polynesian, big band, classical, gospel, Indian, Far Eastern, funk and acoustic pop are all included among the Harrisongs.
As a reviewer pointed out, the only really disappointing aspect of this book is the non-inclusion of most of Brainwashed (Any Road & Run So Far are both given analysis, and some other songs are mentioned)...
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very sensitive treatment
When I received this book, I was mildly interested, having been a Beatle fan in my youth. I had not really followed the career of George Harrison post-Beatles, though I was aware... Read more
Published on June 4 2004 by Wendy
5.0 out of 5 stars Very sensitive treatment
When I received this book, I was mildly interested, having been a Beatle fan in my youth. I had not really followed the career of George Harrison post-Beatles, though I was aware... Read more
Published on May 19 2004 by Wendy
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book
Having already read a number of books about the Beatles I was hoping for a good insight into George Harrison and his music and this does not disappoint! Read more
Published on Jan. 3 2004 by Mr. Nicholas Kemp
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best book yet on George Harrison
I agree with the praise given this book by other Amazon reviewers, but would like to add a few points. Read more
Published on June 2 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars The Writing's On The Wall...This book is a must read
THE MUSIC OF GEORGE HARRISON takes a truly unique approach to understand one of the most miss understood Wilburys and gentlest of the Fab Four. Read more
Published on May 17 2003 by TJ Meenach
4.0 out of 5 stars Insight, Detail and Passion
I had a great time listening to the songs while I read about them. I love the way he describes the songs one by one in detail, the insight he offers that cleared up a lot of... Read more
Published on May 12 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Long overdue comprehensive assessment of Harrison's work
This insightful song-by-song analysis of George Harrison's solo output is preceded in the book by several excellent essays covering the years 1966-70 including, of course,... Read more
Published on March 22 2003 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for anyone interested in his solo work
Employing a format similar to Ian MacDonald's "Revolution in the Head," Simon Leng examines every song in George Harrison's solo catalog as well as many of his guest appearances on... Read more
Published on March 18 2003 by Amazon Customer
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