Guitar Legend Les Paul Dies at 94
Thursday, August 13, 2009


NEW YORK — Les Paul, the guitarist and inventor who changed the course of music with the electric guitar and multitrack recording and had a string of hits, many with wife Mary Ford, died on Thursday. He was 94.

According to Gibson Guitar, Paul died of complications from pneumonia at White Plains Hospital. His family and friends were by his side.

He had been hospitalized in February 2006 when he learned he won two Grammys for an album he released after his 90th birthday, "Les Paul & Friends: American Made, World Played."

"I feel like a condemned building with a new flagpole on it," he joked.

As an inventor, Paul helped bring about the rise of rock 'n' roll and multitrack recording, which enables artists to record different instruments at different times, sing harmony with themselves, and then carefully balance the "tracks" in the finished recording.

With Ford, his wife from 1949 to 1962, he earned 36 gold records and 11 No. 1 pop hits, including "Vaya Con Dios," "How High the Moon," "Nola" and "Lover." Many of their songs used overdubbing techniques that Paul the inventor had helped develop.

"I could take my Mary and make her three, six, nine, 12, as many voices as I wished," he recalled. "This is quite an asset." The overdubbing technique was highly influential on later recording artists such as the Carpenters.

The use of electric guitar gained popularity in the mid-to-late 1940s, and then exploded with the advent of rock the 1950s.

"Suddenly, it was recognized that power was a very important part of music," Paul once said. "To have the dynamics, to have the way of expressing yourself beyond the normal limits of an unamplified instrument, was incredible. Today a guy wouldn't think of singing a song on a stage without a microphone and a sound system."

A tinkerer and musician since childhood, he experimented with guitar amplification for years before coming up in 1941 with what he called "The Log," a four-by-four piece of wood strung with steel strings.

"I went into a nightclub and played it. Of course, everybody had me labeled as a nut." He later put the wooden wings onto the body to give it a tradition guitar shape.

In 1952, Gibson Guitars began production on the Les Paul guitar.

Pete Townsend of The Who, Steve Howe of Yes, jazz great Al DiMeola and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page all made the Gibson Les Paul their trademark six-string.

Over the years, the Les Paul series has become one of the most widely used guitars in the music industry. In 2005, Christie's auction house sold a 1955 Gibson Les Paul for $45,600.

Views: 10

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Sad news. Great musician.
Great musician, and a great inventor, a man who left the world of music a lot different, and I'll say a lot richer, than he found it.

RSS

Help Center

Latest Activity

Kid posted a photo

ASL map PTO2

My second ASL map made with Hexdraw for scenarios in the Pacific.
9 hours ago
Steve K commented on Steve K's blog post Games I'm Playing 2018
"An old Avalon Hill classic - Civilization, from around 1982. Expanding your civ from the Stone Age…"
13 hours ago
Profile IconNyder 99, Jay McCarthy and Clynt Walker Whitaker joined ConsimWorld
yesterday
Sergio F posted a video
yesterday
Rick Heli updated their profile
yesterday
Profile IconAkis and Jay McCarthy joined Brian Blad's group
Thumbnail

Conflict of Heroes

This is the place to discuss the Squad Level Historical Strategic Game SeriesSee More
yesterday
Jay McCarthy joined Brian Blad's group
Thumbnail

Advanced Squad Leader!

This is the place to discuss ASL and all things ASL
Friday
Jay McCarthy joined andy malcolm's group
Thumbnail

War: Gaming on the PC

Post here about war gaming on the PC, games like Steel Panthers, Combat Mission, the various works…See More
Friday

Groups

Events

Members

CSW Related Links

Please be sure to check-out these CSW services.

© 2018   Created by John Kranz.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service