Tom Petty sings “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and Prince burns it down to the ground, 2004. This video from 2004′s Rock Hall induction festivities made the rounds when Prince passed away, because his final solo (and tossing his guitar in the air when it ends) is rightly remembered as legendary.
Before then, though, the song is borne aloft by Tom Petty’s heartfelt lead vocal and acoustic 12-string (supported by George’s son Dhani). Tom and George’s brother Wilbury Jeff Lynne takes the vocal on the bridge, Jeff’s guitarist Marc Mann takes the first solo, Steve Winwood (there to be inducted with Traffic) on organ, and yeah, that insane solo from Prince at the end – but this is also a great time to remember Tom’s gifts as a bandleader who knows when to step back and let his mates take the spotlight.
“You see me nodding at him, to say, ‘Go on, go on,’” Petty says. “I remember I leaned out at him at one point and gave him a ‘This is going great!’ kind of look.
“He just burned it up. You could feel the electricity of ‘something really big’s going down here.’”
But what about that disappearing guitar? Once it leaves Prince’s hands, it never reappears, and the video shows no one catching it. Even Petty’s drummer, Steve Ferrone, remains confused about it—and he was onstage.
“I didn’t even see who caught it,” he says. “I just saw it go up, and I was astonished that it didn’t come back down again.
“Everybody wonders where that guitar went, and I gotta tell you, I was on the stage, and I wonder where it went, too.”
I can’t believe I missed this the first time I watched Justice League! Headline on the Metropolis Post after Superman’s funeral wondering if our heroes have gone back to their home planets: Superman, plus David Bowie and Prince!!!! All credit to my wife Nora, who pointed it out after I missed it again!