In the day since Prince’s shocking death at age 57, footage of him performing a fiery “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” solo at his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2004 has gone viral. Now his full Hall of Fame speech has been uncovered, and Yahoo Music is honored to exclusively share the simple but memorable moment from that historic evening at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
“When I first started out in the music industry, I was most concerned with freedom,” Prince tells the audience in his short but moving speech, his words ringing as true today as they did 12 years ago. “Freedom to produce, freedom to play all the instruments on my records, freedom to say anything I wanted to. And after much negotiation, Warner Bros. Records granted me that freedom, and I thank them. Without any real spiritual mentors other than artists – whose records I admired, Larry Graham being one of them – I embarked on a journey more fascinating than I could ever have imagined.
“But a word to the wise: Without real spiritual mentoring, too much freedom can lead to the soul’s decay,” Prince continues. “And a word to the young artists: A real friend or mentor is not on your payroll. A real friend and mentor cares for your soul as much as they do the other one. This world and its wicked systems becomes harder and harder to deal with without a real friend or mentor. And I wish all of you the best.”
The release of Prince’s speech footage coincides not only with his tragic passing, but with the release of Time Life’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Volume 1, available for the first time on (180 gram) vinyl and including a selection of memorable moments in the Hall’s history from Prince, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Cream, Metallica, Tom Petty, Green Day, James Taylor, Al Green, Chuck Berry, and many others. To order the album, click here.