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.
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.