Reference Library: It's Is All You Need
From: email@example.com (saki)
Subject: Re: Guitar weeping..
Date: Sun, 10 Mar 1996 07:17:14 GMT
Bob Johns (100710.640@CompuServe.COM) wrote:
Can anyone tell me (as a naive new Beatles fan), who George
Harrison is refering too in My Guitar Gently weeps? Particularly
the line `I look at you all and I see all the love that is
It's about love.
Love unrealized, love left in its seed, unscarified, unborn. It's the
love that's sleeping, the love that's never burst its vegetal bud.
And with it are all the unrealized realities of life; the grim
dimensionless soul that has no determination, who is bought and sold
and controlled by someone else.
Worse yet, it's the love that never declares itself, the love that
lacks courage to *be*. And that's the greatest tragedy of all! (Check
out Dr. Macca's late-period solo work "This One" for a fine treatise
on what one ought to do before one loses the opportunity forever).
But re: "While My Guitar Gently Weeps":
This is the cynical view, of course. Harrison was ever the complainer,
the lamenter, the mourner of love's lost opportunity. That's what his
guitar weeps for here (or perhaps it's more accurate to say that Eric
Clapton's guitar is the one that weeps!).
But is it so surprising that the Beatles usually write about love?
Almost all their songs explore it, one way or another. And if you're
at a loss to understand what they mean, in almost any given
circumstance, try love.
Odd thing, that. You take four average guys from any one town, mix
them together with whatever talent they may happen to have, whatever
camaraderie, whatever stray spark of occasional genius...and rare's
the outcome that you'll get such universal eloquence about a topic
we're all supposed to understand already.
Yet we don't understand it. If we did, the music wouldn't have
such power over us. The message is like a prayer, a mantra---some
elemental lesson we're all too dense to comprehend, most of the time.
Even in these cavalier years, our ironic nineties, we're capable of
falling down in a dead faint over the deft certainty of lyrical truth,
when it's presented to us by singers who (it was once said) had ceased
to grant us their wisdom some twenty-six years ago: "Thought I'd been
in love before/But in my heart I wanted more...."
Maybe that's why poets got away with writing love ballads, for so many
centuries...our memories (collective and otherwise) are too weak to
recall love's truth, without some modern balladeer to remind us.
The particular balladeers on whom we depend have never failed us. And
how fortunate that they regrouped to bring home this vision once more!
But how did the Beatles learn it so well? Where did they get this
insight? Who was responsible for their prescience?
Because when you look at their lives---at least their lives in the
sixties---it's hard to imagine that their personal experiences could
have added up to such a divine equation.
They seemed to have such varieties of upbringing, of minor romantic
tempests. Surely mere biography can't explain how they knew the
multihued threads of love's tapestry.
But no matter where you turn, that's what they sing, in a lyrical and
harmonic weave that's as sacred as the truths of antiquity.
More than any other noun in their compositional oeuvre, they remark on
the subject of love. That's they word that occurs more often than any
other (save the odd determiner or pronoun): "Love".
And how many permutations and intricacies!
From the simplest:
You know I love you. You're the only love. You'll never know how much
I really love you. Only a fool would doubt our love. Imagine I'm in
love with you. Deep in love, not a lot to say. I'm in love for the
first time, don't you know it's gonna last....
To the most complex:
You've got to hide your love away. I would hate my disappointment to
show. I'm not what I appear to be. Or should I say she once had me.
How can you laugh when you know I'm down? Love was such an easy game
to play. And she promises the earth to me and I believe her. When she
says her love is dead you think she needs you. Love has a nasty habit
of disappearing overnight....
To the hopeful:
Love you whenever we're together, love you when we're apart. Seems
that all I've really been doing, is waiting for you....
I know Beatlemania was full of hype and hyperbole, but when you strip
it back to its inner essential kernel (which is exactly what you
have to do in any proper harvest), the everyday effluvia falls back
like a bad dream, and you're left with the message most pop groups of
the nineties (let alone the sixties!) would *never* admit was vital
But it's no different now than it was thirty years ago, or three
hundred, or three thousand.
Men and women love just the same. And the Beatles found out the
heart's most inner need, and keep repeating it to us, lest we forget
the message we've been trying to learn since our minds first felt
conscious thought, and first yearned to hear the warmth of love
articulated in sound.
If anyone desires it, that message is still fresh and sweet in their
All one needs is the faith to perceive it.
"Sometimes you think you're crazy, but you know you're only mad."
» Return to The Beatles Reference Library