When Ringo returned to the studio today after his brief departure from the band, he found his drum kit festooned with flowers and a “Welcome Back Ringo” sign. Tragically I have been unable to find any photographs of the festive display, which some say was placed by George Harrison, and some by Mal Evans. Most likely George had the idea and made Mal do the work.

In any case, things seem to have been relatively harmonious in Pepperland as the band resumed work on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” After recording new lead vocals and several overdubs for the version they’d put down on August 16, George listened to a playback and decided that it was crap. He announced that they would be throwing everything out and starting over from scratch.

And that was probably the end of the brief honeymoon occasioned by Ringo’s return. George led the band through 28 takes of a new arrangement, which were numbered 17–44 (against the wishes of George — who wanted to start over from take 1, and as usual was ignored).

Take 25 was considered the keeper and is the one we know from the White Album; but at this point it was just George’s guide vocal and acoustic guitar, John’s electric guitar (later wiped in favor of you-know-who’s), Paul’s piano, and Ringo’s drums. The song’s defining musical characteristics — the lead guitar and the heavy, distorted bass — would not be added until tomorrow. Big day, everybody. Get some rest.

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