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Voodoo Child - Prince's 5 Greatest Guitar Solos

Prince performs live at the LA Forum on February 19, 1985
(Image credit: Getty Images)

From blowing everyone’s minds at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame to his sublime, heart-wrenching work on Purple Rain, Prince’s playing has always been the perfect flourish that brought his impeccable song writing to life.

1 While My Guitar Gently Weeps

In 2004, during an all-star jam at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Steve Winwood and others were halfway through a take on George Harrison’s classic tune when Prince stepped out of the shadows with his Telecaster and kicked the song into another dimension. It’s pure expression – two minutes of sobs, moans and flights of fancy fretwork. Simply mind-blowing.

2 Peach

There’s always been a hint of Hendrix in Prince’s playing, but the two furiously angular solo breaks on this song almost feel like some kind of gypsy spirit-channelling.

3 Let’s Go Crazy

The sound of a guitarist being swept up and spun by a groove into a dizzy cyclone of shooting sparks and frantic licks.

4 I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man

Lyrical, simple, soulful. Sometimes the best solos are the ones that simply take a hand-off from the vocal and keep on singing.

5 Purple Rain

If the second coming had a soundtrack, the last few minutes here would be it. Prince reaches deep into his purple soul and just pulls out pure soaring, anthemic riffage.

This article originally appeared in Classic Rock #203.

Bill DeMain is a correspondent for BBC Glasgow, a regular contributor to MOJO, Classic Rock and Mental Floss, and the author of six books, including the best-selling Sgt. Pepper At 50. He is also an acclaimed musician and songwriter who's written for artists including Marshall Crenshaw, Teddy Thompson and Kim Richey. His songs have appeared in TV shows such as Private Practice and Sons of Anarchy. In 2013, he started Walkin' Nashville, a music history tour that's been the #1 rated activity on Trip Advisor. An avid bird-watcher, he also makes bird cards and prints.