The above is from a tribute the 2008 vh1 Hall of Fame ceremony.
Wow, and I thought Prince was just going to go through the motions and join in on the sing-along. I knew he could play guitar but he blew all those other musicians away, considering they are only song writers singing from a predefined script. Well, Jeff Lynne arranges and produces and the Washington Times labeled him the best record producer of all time). Even so, Prince does everything –he’s a song writer as well as being a virtuoso on guitar, self-produces, arranges, and plays a plethora of instruments (bringing to mind Roy Wood of ELO). I say this despite that I haven’t really liked much of his stuff since Purple Rain and the sort. I wished Prince would have played more guitar (back when I used to like his music and played guitar myself).
Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne (singer to ELO) work well in this Beatles song. They should, considering ELO made a career ripping off (or building on) the Beatles sound, and Petty with his “sedated sound” is heavily influenced (as can be noticed in “Learning to Fly” with its George Harrison feel) –although the Beatles were so much more than a band with a “drug sound”.
Side note #1: The dope feel was evident on some of the early material in his early days, when with the Heart Breakers –as can be noted in the single “Mary Jane”. Of course, some would say that Tom Petty is more than just a singer that sounds as if he’s on downers or dope, especially when considering his hits from his more rhythmical days in the (Tom Petty and the) Heart Breakers band –but those days are behind him as he’s settled into slow grandpa mode.
Side note #2: Sting (who did not participate in the song above) is another (that comes to mind) who has slowed down to composing songs snails and sloths could dance. Sting’s 1991 single “All this Time” (about the death of his father) had a Police feel and (not surprisingly) put him in the pop spot light again (reaching the top 10 on the US pop chart) –until he went back to doing whatever he does now.
Back to Prince’s performance, judging from the reaction of Prince’s band-mates –they didn’t have a clue what he was going to do. I wouldn’t doubt it if these musicians didn’t practice together and probably winged it after only one sound testing the night before. Even then, they probably only sent techs to sound test their set-ups. Still, the performance wasn’t bad, despite some problems with the harmonies.
At the end, Prince certainly looked pleased with himself –this, after throwing his guitar up in the air. I just hope it didn’t land on someone’s head.
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