Best of 2021: Prince’s searing solo turn during an ensemble performance of the Beatles’ While My Guitar Gently Weeps, which culminated with him literally making his own electric guitar – a Tele-style H.S. Anderson Mad Cat – disappear, has become cemented as a legendary moment in rock history.
The mesmeric performance, which saw Prince join Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and Steve Winwood, came together to honor George Harrison's posthumous induction into the Rock and Hall of Fame at the 2004 ceremony. Also along for the ride were Harrison’s son, Dhani, and several members of Petty’s band, the Heartbreakers.
Now, a new edit of While My Guitar Gently Weeps has surfaced on YouTube, with, thankfully, even more Prince closeups. The new cut comes courtesy of Joel Gallen, who directed and produced the original Hall of Fame broadcast.
“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 writes in the accompanying 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.”
Gallen’s new edit demonstrates that he knows what everyone else knows: on a stage full of stars, Prince outshone everyone in his orbit. Gallen adds in split screens that home in on Prince’s fleet fingers, as well as closeups that capture every smile and “guitar face” that the Purple One pulled throughout the solo.
One thing that still remains a mystery? Whatever happened to that Mad Cat T-style axe after Prince threw it up toward the rafters at the end of the performance.
“I didn’t even see who caught it,” Heartbreakers drummer Steve Ferrone, who was part of the band that night, told Guitar Player. “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.”
You can check out the new director’s cut of While My Guitar Gently Weeps above.