Thursday, August 13, 2009

Les Paul, "Father of the Electric Guitar, dies at age 94

One of the great innovators of modern music, Les Paul, died in White Plains, N.Y., on Aug. 13, 2009, from complications of pneumonia.

Although Paul was an accomplished guitarist in his own right, his greatest contributions to music came as an inventor, both of the solid body guitar and multi-track recording. It is impossible to imagine music today without recognizing these innovations.

Tributes to Paul poured in from across the world from the countless musicians who were inspired by the Waukesha, Wisconsin native. A typical comment was made by guitarist Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top: "Les Paul brought six strings to electricity and electricity to six strings. Les Paul was an innovator, a groundbreaker, a risk taker, a mentor and a friend. Try to imagine what we'd be doing if he hadn't come along and changed the world."

The Gibson Les Paul is one of the most recognizable guitars in music history, played by musicians such as Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Hubert Sumlin, Howlin' Wolf, Duane Allman, Jeff Beck, Peter Frampton, Billy Gibbons, George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Davey Johnstone, Carlos Santana, Hubert Sumlin, Joe Walsh and Eddie Van Halen, just to name a few.

Not only a great inventor, Paul also was a successful musician in the 1940s and '50s, earning 36 gold records, many of which featured his wife, vocalist Mary Ford.

"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," said Dave Berryman, President of Gibson Guitar. “I have had the privilege to know and work with Les for many, many years and his passing has left a deep personal void. He was simply put – remarkable in every way. As a person, a musician, a friend, an inventor. He will be sorely missed by us all."

Gibson Web site

The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer


Les Paul's Web site

Famous Guitarists Who Have Played a Les Paul


Unknown said...

There is a great audio interview in with Les Paul. It's about 45 mins long and really quite interesting.

It is in their previous issue and this one has a 45 min video interview with Duke Robillard.

Kazaa said...

Long live his glory and innovation. His talents extended his playing style, including trills, chording sequences and timing, which set him apart from his contemporaries and is an inspiration for many of the guitarists of present day.

Electric Guitar said...

Truly a great man! I never met him, but watching interviews of Les Paul, he seemed genuinely humble, yet an obvious genius.