George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr Reunite to Play "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" in 1987

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As any rock fan knows, the Beatles never got back together.

What you might not know is that even partial Beatles reunions and "near misses" were frustratingly rare back when such things mattered (prior to George Harrison's death in 2001).

Which is why the video below is so enjoyable.

On June 5, 1987, three of the five original musicians who appeared on the classic Beatles White Album track "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" reunited to perform the song live at the Prince's Trust Rock Gala at London's Wembley Arena.

George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Eric Clapton were joined by an all-star U.K. band, including Elton John, Phil Collins, Jeff Lynne, Ray Cooper and ... well, if you're wondering who that understandably happy bassist is, it's Mark King from Level 42. Harrison, Starr and Clapton last performed the song live 16 years earlier at the Concert for Bangladesh in New York City.

What's most interesting about this performance is the fact that A., the normally Strat-happy Clapton is playing a beautiful Gibson Les Paul, just as he did on the original 1968 recording, and B., the also-Strat-happy Harrison joins Clapton in the extended guitar solo at the end of the song. The two guitarists trade solos and feed off each other's energy, and their intertwining lines are often pretty damn cool.

Paul McCartney, another one of the five original musicians who appeared on the original Beatles recording, would later perform the song with Clapton and Starr in November 2002 at the Concert for George.

Of course, for the closest thing to a full-on Beatles reunion, there's nothing quite like the mid-Nineties footage of McCartney, Harrison and Starr hanging out together during the making of Anthology (bottom video).

For studio recordings that come close to full reunions, check out Starr's "I'm the Greatest" from 1973 (written by Lennon and featuring Lennon, Starr, Harrison and Let It Be/Abbey Road keyboardist Billy Preston) and Harrison's "All Those Years Ago" from 1981 (featuring Harrison, McCartney and Starr).

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