On March 15, 2004, George Harrison was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an occasion that saw an ad-hoc, all-star band featuring Tom Petty and two other members of The Heartbreakers, Jeff Lynne, Steve Winwood, Dhani Harrison, and Marc Mann pay tribute to the Beatle with a performance of one of his best-known songs, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."
Noteworthy as that is in and of itself, we probably wouldn't be talking about the performance today had a fellow R&RHOF 2004 inductee, Prince, not guested on it, and taken it to another level.
Ending the tribute with a ferocious, explosive, and powerful three-minute guitar solo, the initially unassuming guest spot became one of Prince's most legendary performances, especially in the wake of his untimely death in 2016.
Now, a new "director's cut" video of the performance – created by Joel Gallen, who directed and produced the original 2004 broadcast – has been released on YouTube. The video, which you can check out below, gives Prince significantly more close-ups, meaning – luckily for us – a closer look at his unbelievable fretwork.
“17 years after this stunning performance by Prince, I finally had the chance to go in and re-edit it slightly – since there were several shots that were bothering me,” Gallen wrote in the video's caption.
“I got rid of all the dissolves and made them all cuts, and added lots more close-ups of Prince during his solo. I think it's better now. Let me know what you think. Joel.”
Of course, one of the performance's greatest mysteries remains the fate of the Tele-style H.S. Anderson Mad Cat Prince used for the solo. Just as he finished, Prince tossed the guitar in the air... only it never came back down.
"I didn’t even see who caught it," Steve Ferrone – who served as the drummer for the fateful performance – told The New York Times (opens in new tab) in 2016. "I just saw it go up, and I was astonished that it didn’t come back down again.
Some mysteries, it seems, are never meant to be solved...
Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.
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