Writings About Music

Gently Waking

Bob Dylan and George Harrison. Dylan inspired the Beatles and vice versa.


George Harrison wrote the most powerful song ever about saving the earth: While My Guitar Gently Weeps. And in terms of sheer musical beauty it has long been my favorite from the entire enchanted catalog of the Beatles. Whether or not George intended the song as I interpret it doesn’t really matter because great works of art are characterized by how they speak differently to the receiver depending upon that person’s temperament in the moment.

In the song, George sings about how humanity has fallen asleep in regards to honoring and preserving our planet for future generations and ourselves. His reference to a floor that needs sweeping is nothing less than restoring clean air, water and earth free from pollution and unnatural warming. He sings of our misguided love, despairing of how humanity too often diverges from mutually beneficial pathways and fosters unnecessary greed. Finally, George’s song hopes that we will learn from our mistakes yesterday rather than tomorrow never knows.


While My Guitar Gently Weeps is not available, so here's another phenomenal song of the earth and performance by George, opening: "Sunrise doesn't last all morning, A cloudburst doesn't last all day." Ravi and Sukyana Shankar are seated to George's left. Harrison (coincidently means Son of Hari) had a great love for trees and gardening.


This is the remastered version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps, added here in 2019. A fascinating lesson in mastering would be to detail why one version may be preferred over the other.


George once sang Charukeshi for me during an extended evening conversation in Lahaina. This was his favorite raga due to its pleasing confluence of major and minor modalities, symbolizing the concept of persevering to find solutions when presented with challenges. Let’s honor his dream of prioritizing cleanliness and purity in the very elements our bodies and the world are made from: Air, Water and Earth. This is the sweetness he sang of in another song, My Sweet Lord, transcending denominations, or even the belief in god, recognizing that for some Nature and God are different words for the same thing.

- Michael Robinson, May 2017, Los Angeles


© 2017 Michael Robinson All rights reserved


Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer and musicologist who has been a lecturer at UCLA, Bard College and California State University. His 155 albums include 148 albums for Meruvina and 7 albums of piano improvisations.