It’s one of the most legendary performances in the history of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, and it’s taken on even greater significance now that its two leading stars have moved on to that great gig in the sky.
Tom Petty’s and Prince’s commanding performance of the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” at the 2004 RRHOF bash (posted below) is going viral again following Monday's death of the lead Heartbreaker.
The two ‘70s-reared rock legends -- who were casual acquaintances and mutual admirers over the years – paired up on the song to honor George Harrison, who was inducted as a solo artist that year alongside Prince. They were joined on stage by Steve Winwood and Harrison’s and Petty’s Traveling Wilburys bandmate Jeff Lynne, but pretty much all of the other rock stars fade into the background as Prince takes over the song like General Patton rolling through Italy.
In the wake of Prince’s death last year, Petty talked admirably about the moment to the New York Times:
“You see me nodding at him, to say, 'Go on, go on.' 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.'"
In the same story, Petty also offered touching comments that hit especially hard now, following his own untimely death:
“Just a few days ago, he was in mind all afternoon, I was thinking about him. And I had just been talking with Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles — he wrote their “Manic Monday” song. She was telling me the story of that, of how she came to have that song and meet Prince. And I was thinking about him a lot that day, and I almost told myself I was going to call him and just see how he was. I’m starting to think you should just act on those things all the time.