Remember When: Prince Makes His Guitar Gently Weep at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

We will take any opportunity to shine a light on Prince’s powerful guitar playing. Though His Highness delivered a number of world-stopping solos in his time, few hold a candle to his performance at the 2004 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction.

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Prince joined the likes of Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, and Jeff Lynne to fete George Harrison. They picked one of his most timeless tunes, “My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Lynne’s guitarist, Marc Mann, took the first solo of the night. It was an impressive play along to Clapton’s original melody–made all the more special given that Clapton was standing on the stage with him.

Prince joined the crew toward the end of the number. He walked out onto the stage with a casual air about him. Judging by body language alone, no one could’ve guessed Prince was about to drop a face-melting solo.

[RELATED: The Story Behind Prince and Michael Jackson’s Decades-Long Feud]

Prince hadn’t rehearsed the song with the rest of the performers. It was a welcomed bombshell for everyone in attendance. Prince ran his fingers up and down the frets, bending chords, and hitting searing high notes. He made sure everyone in the room knew he was the be-all and end-all.

“Look, we got Prince here willing to play lead guitar,” Petty once said for the moment. “Why should we give him an eight-bar solo? Over a solo that— the Beatles solo, everyone knows it by heart and would be disappointed if you didn’t play that particular solo there. And Prince was a great fan of George’s, and the Beatles in general, but I think he particularly admired George. I think George would have liked it a lot.”

“I’ve seen every induction performance from ’92 to the present, so that’s like 24 shows,” Craig Inciardi, curator of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum, added. “On a purely musical level, a technical level as far as musicianship, that performance seems like the most impressive one.”

Revisit the moment, below.

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage

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