Les Paul passes age 94

13 August 2009 Under: Clash News, Joe Strummer

Just learned this on the wires – Les Paul has passed away at age 94 ~ from my earliest interest in music and my admitted fascination with guitars the name Les Paul was part of that mythology. When I finally learned to play guitar many years later owning a Les Paul was a dream realised. What a great instrument – and what a sound. His name will be around forever for he was to guitars what Strummer was to Punk.


Les Paul Deluxe 1974 Les Paul passes age 94

Gibson Les Paul Deluxe

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2 responses to “Les Paul passes age 94”

  1. Pete Stevens says:

    The term 'legend' is an over used word, but in the case of Les Paul it hardly does him justice. This man truly was a legend It's such a shame, especially coming so soon after the passing of George Fullerton who worked at Fender.

    Les Paul was still playing regulary in New York until very recently. The BBC have a very good summary of his incredible life.


    Les Paul, whose pioneering electric guitars were used by a legion of rock stars, has died at the age of 94.

    Mr Paul died from complications of pneumonia in New York, according to Gibson, the firm that sold his guitars.

    He is credited with developing one of the first solid-body electric guitars, which went on sale in 1952 and contributed to the birth of rock.

    He also developed other influential recording innovations such as multi-track recording and overdubbing.

    And he was credited with inventing the eight-track tape recorder.

    U2 guitarist The Edge, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, Guns N' Roses star Slash and The Who's Pete Townshend are among those closely associated with the Les Paul sound.

    Slash described him as "an exceptionally brilliant man".

    He said: "Les Paul was a shining example of how full one's life can be. He was so vibrant and full of positive energy. I'm honoured and humbled to have known and played with him over the years."

    Fellow guitarist Joe Satriani called Paul "the original guitar hero," saying: "Les Paul set a standard for musicianship and innovation that remains unsurpassed."

    Henry Juszkiewicz, chairman of Gibson Guitar, said: "His influence extends around the globe and across every boundary."

    Gibson president Dave Berryman said: "As the 'father of the electric guitar', he was not only one of the world's greatest innovators but a legend who created, inspired and contributed to the success of musicians around the world."

    Mr Paul was also a successful performer in his own right, notching up 11 number one singles and 36 gold discs with his wife Mary Ford.

    He was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1978 and the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

    Les Paul began as a country and jazz musician, playing with such acts as Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole.

    Unhappy with acoustic guitars, he had begun experimenting with guitar amplification at the age of 13 by placing a telephone receiver under the strings.

    He created his first solid-body electric guitar, dubbed "the log", in 1941. "I went into a nightclub and played it. Of course, everybody had me labelled as a nut," he later said.

    It did not go on sale for another 11 years, by which time Leo Fender's rival Telecaster model was already on the market.

    In 1948, Mr Paul almost died in a car crash that shattered his right arm and elbow. Afterwards, he convinced doctors to set his broken arm at a right angle in the guitar-picking and cradling position.

    He continued to refine his guitar design throughout the 1950s. Its basic structure has barely changed over the decades and continues to be popular among stars and amateurs alike.

    Gibson released a line of Les Paul guitars designed by Slash

    Stephen Lawson, editor of Total Guitar magazine, said: "It was a beautiful guitar… it was hand crafted, it was carved, it was a really beautiful looking instrument.

    His work on taping techniques began after World War II, when Bing Crosby gave him a tape recorder.

    Multi-tracking -- where separate recordings are combined -- was first heard in the 1950 number one hit How High the Moon, a duet with Ford.

    "I've been trying to imagine a world without Les Paul -- it would be so different. Until he invented multi-track recording, you had to make a record gathered round a microphone in the middle of room," said Stephen Lawson.

    "One of the most obvious classic Les Paul Guitar solos is Sweet Child of Mine by Guns N' Roses -- that intro has such a distinctive Les Paul sound to it.

    "It can go from a mellow beautiful sound that really hits you in your soul, all the way to a shredding searing lead guitar tone."

    I'll certainly tune it up and crank out some power chords on my black Les Paul Studio later today in tribute. If you hear a raggedy version of 'Complete Control' blasting out over Acton in west London, that'll be me and my Les Paul.


  2. robert says:

    ya good comments i use to see paul stanley play rhytym guitar on stage and me and my friend were playing in is backyaard way back when if you know what i mean

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