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Lost Guitars: Clapton and Harrison's "Lucy"

Of course "Lucy" is named after a fiery redhead. Why wouldn't she be? "Lucy" is one of the world's most famous guitars, of course, and for good reason.

First of all, she's a 1957 Gibson Les Paul Standard, a cherished guitar regardless of player pedigree. Second, she has one hell of a player pedigree.

The guitar players who made music with "Lucy" are among the most celebrated in rock 'n' roll history. There was John Sebastian of The Lovin' Spoonful, for example, and guitar extraordinaire Rick Derringer. But there was also Eric Clapton and The Beatles' George Harrison, the latter of whom gave the beauty her name when Clapton gifted her to him in 1968. "Lucy" went on to perform the guitar solo in the Harrison-penned Beatles' classic "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," among others.

It was her theft from Harrison's Beverly Hills home in the early 1970s that may have added most to her story, however.

The guitar surprisingly ended up in a Hollywood music shop, according to Gibson, where it was soon purchased by a musician from Mexico for a sweet $650. Through a series of events that aren't totally clear, the guitar and its new owner came to the attention of Harrison sometime later. Through what Gibson terms as "a complex set of negotiations," Harrison acquired it once more.

"She got kidnapped and taken to Guadalajara,” he half-joked at one point afterwards. "And I had to buy this Mexican guy a Les Paul to get it back."

"Lucy" stayed in Harrison's collection from then until his death in 2001. The guitar found fame yet again in 2014 when it was featured in an episode of Brad Meltzer's Lost History on the History channel. Watch a clip below.

 

Brad Meltzer's Lost History: George Harrison's Stolen Guitar "Lucy" (S1, E9) | History

Brad Meltzer describes George Harrison's stolen guitar "Lucy" in this scene from "D-Day Footage".

 

See Eric Clapton discuss "Lucy" below to celebrate Gibson's release of a limited-edition version of "Lucy" a few years ago.

 

The Gibson Harrison-Clapton "Lucy" Les Paul : Presented By Guitar Center

Eric Clapton shares his unique background story on the Gibson Harrison-Clapton Lucy Les Paul guitar with some of his most memorable moments. In collaboration with the George Harrison Estate and Eric Clapton, this historical guitar will be limited edition of just 100 guitars worldwide, available in America EXCLUSIVELY through Guitar Center March 21, 2013.

 

Russ Penuell lives in Nashville with his girlfriend, three dogs and a lot of music.