Prince Stuns at George Harrison’s 2004 Rock Hall Induction

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Prince Rock Hall

Tom Petty, Dhani Harrison and Prince

The inductees at the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were a truly star-studded group: Jackson Browne, The Dells, Prince, Bob Seger, Traffic, Jann Wenner and ZZ Top. And George Harrison, for his post-Beatles solo work.

When it came to honoring the “Quiet Beatle” at the induction ceremony, held at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel, on March 15 of that year, an all-star lineup took to the stage to perform Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Among those onstage were Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne and Dhani Harrison, who uncannily resembles his father.

Petty and Lynne share lead vocals. And although we don’t even recognize him until a brief appearance shortly after the 2:00 mark, it’s fellow ’04 inductee Prince who steals the show with an absolutely blistering guitar solo. From 3:28 on, it’s all Prince and the joy on Dhani’s face is something to behold.

The performance becomes a celebration of Harrison’s life and career, less than three years after his untimely death on November 29, 2001.

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Heartbreakers’ drummer Steve Ferrone, was quoted by the New York Times in 2016, “I had no idea that Prince was going to be there. Steve Winwood said, ‘Hey, Prince is over there.’ And I said, ‘I guess he’s playing with us?’

“So I wandered across the stage and I went up to him and I said, ‘Hi, Prince, it’s nice to meet you — Steve Ferrone.’ And he said, ‘Oh, I know who you are!’ Maybe because I’d played on Chaka Khan’s ‘I Feel for You,’ which is a song that he wrote. I went back over and I sat down behind the drum kit, and Winwood was like: ‘What’s he like? What’d he say?'”

Joel Gallen produced and directed the ceremony. “We get to the rehearsal the night before the show at the Waldorf Astoria,” he told the Times. “Prince’s rehearsal was actually earlier — he rehearsed his big 10-, 12-minute medley that opened the show.

“The Petty rehearsal was later that night. And at the time I’d asked him to come back, there was Prince; he’d shown up on the side of the stage with his guitar. He says hello to Tom and Jeff and the band. When we get to the middle solo, where Prince is supposed to do it, Jeff Lynne’s guitar player just starts playing the solo. Note for note, like Clapton. And Prince just stops and lets him do it and plays the rhythm, strums along. And we get to the big end solo, and Prince again steps forward to go into the solo, and this guy starts playing that solo too! Prince doesn’t say anything, just starts strumming, plays a few leads here and there, but for the most part, nothing memorable.

“So I talk to Prince about it, I sort of pull him aside and had a private conversation with him, and he was like: ‘Look, let this guy do what he does, and I’ll just step in at the end. For the end solo, forget the middle solo.’ And he goes, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ And then he leaves. They never rehearsed it, really. Never really showed us what he was going to do, and he left, basically telling me, the producer of the show, not to worry.

“And the rest is history. It became one of the most satisfying musical moments in my history of watching and producing live music.”

We first shared this with our readers in November 2015. When Prince passed on April 21, 2016, it began to show up all over the Internet.

If you’ve never seen this performance, you’re in for an absolute treat. And if you have, well, then you already know this Classic Video is one to enjoy again and again. And we always ask ourselves: Where did Prince’s guitar go at the end?!?

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6 Comments so far

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  1. Jilly
    #1 Jilly 27 February, 2020, 18:30

    Sorry, but I absolutely despise Prince’s showboating in this video. He was great, but this was neither the time nor place to be such a show-off! I wish people would stop raving so about this.

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  2. Kelli
    #2 Kelli 16 March, 2020, 14:34

    It’s an all time moment in rock history!

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  3. Stansmith
    #3 Stansmith 16 March, 2020, 18:23

    I’m sorry if you look at the faces of the other great musicians on stage, I dont think they would say he was showboating.

    Reply this comment
  4. Audiophilephil
    #4 Audiophilephil 16 March, 2020, 20:41

    You are impressed because of that? Other guitarists can play it easily.

    Reply this comment

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