One of the things that I love about The Beatles is that all their songs—even all the parts of their songs—sound right to my ear. Other people can cover a Beatles song and their version might be interesting, or even good, but it won’t sound as perfect as the original. Eric Clapton’s solo on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is definitely like that—the magic was so strong, it even extended to session men (Billy Preston is another example of this).
Then I listened to this 2004 solo by Prince at George Harrison’s induction ceremony into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s nothing like the Clapton original, it’s very much Prince, and it sounds…right. The director has re-cut the performance with some new footage, and I’ve pasted it below.
Some people call this the greatest solo in the history of rock, and I can’t think of one I like better. Here’s a whole NYT article about it. I wish I could do anything—breathe, beat my heart—as well as Prince played guitar. This solo is also reputed to be the one that caused the following exchange:
INTERVIEWER: “Mr. Clapton, how does it feel to be the greatest guitar player on Earth?”
CLAPTON: “I dunno. Ask Prince.”