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View Full Version : Les Paul dies at 94 Long live Rock and Roll!



Dreadnought
13 Aug 09,, 18:57
(CNN) -- Les Paul, whose innovations with the electric guitar and studio technology made him one of the most important figures in recorded music, has died, according to a statement from his publicists. Paul was 94.


Les Paul, whose innovations helped give rise to modern pop music, played guitar into his 90s.

Paul died in White Plains, New York, from complications of severe pneumonia, according to the statement.

Paul was a guitar and electronics mastermind whose creations -- such as multitrack recording, tape delay and the solid-body guitar that bears his name, the Gibson Les Paul -- helped give rise to modern popular music, including rock 'n' roll. No slouch on the guitar himself, he continued playing at clubs into his 90s despite being hampered by arthritis.

"If you only have two fingers [to work with], you have to think, how will you play that chord?" he told CNN.com in a 2002 phone interview. "So you think of how to replace that chord with several notes, and it gives the illusion of sounding like a chord."

"The world has lost a truly innovative and exceptional human being today. I cannot imagine life without Les Paul," said Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar. "He would walk into a room and put a smile on anyone's face. His musical charm was extraordinary and his techniques unmatched anywhere in the world."

Lester William Polfuss was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on June 9, 1915. Even as a child he showed an aptitude for tinkering, taking apart electric appliances to see what made them tick.

"I had to build it, make it and perfect it," Paul said in 2002. He was nicknamed the "Wizard of Waukesha."

In the 1930s and '40s, he played with the bandleader Fred Waring and several big band singers, including Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and the Andrews Sisters, as well as with his own Les Paul Trio. In the early 1950s, he had a handful of huge hits with his then-wife, Mary Ford, such as "How High the Moon" and "Vaya Con Dios."

His guitar style, heavily influenced by jazzman Django Reinhardt, featured lightning-quick runs and double-time rhythms. In 1948, after being involved in a severe car accident, he asked the doctor to set his arm permanently in a guitar-playing position.

Paul also credited Crosby for teaching him about timing, phrasing and preparation.

Crosby "didn't say it, he did it -- one time only. Unless he blew the lyrics, he did one take."

Paul never stopped tinkering with electronics, and after Crosby gave him an early audiotape recorder, Paul went to work changing it. It eventually led to multitrack recording; on Paul and Ford's hits, he plays many of the guitar parts, and Ford harmonizes with herself. Multitrack recording is now the industry standard.

But Paul likely will be best remembered for the Gibson Les Paul, a variation on the solid-body guitar he built in the early 1940s -- "The Log" -- and offered to the guitar company.

"For 10 years, I was a laugh," he told CNN in an interview. "[But] kept pounding at them and pounding at them saying hey, here's where it's at. Here's where tomorrow, this is it. You can drown out anybody with it. And you can make all these different sounds that you can't do with a regular guitar."

Gibson, spurred by rival Fender, finally took Paul up on his offer and introduced the model in 1952. It has since become the go-to guitar for such performers as Eric Clapton.

Paul is enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Inventors Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is survived by three sons, a daughter, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Until recently he had a standing gig at New York's Iridium Jazz Club, where he would play with a who's-who of famed musicians.

He admired the places guitarists and engineers took his inventions, but he said there was nothing to replace good, old-fashioned elbow grease and soul.

"I learned a long time ago that one note can go a long way if it's the right one," he said in 2002, "and it will probably whip the guy with 20 notes."

God Bless em, He gave the world a sound we will never forget.:redface::(

Rumrunner
13 Aug 09,, 19:04
RIP - he will be missed

Shamus
13 Aug 09,, 21:33
A true master of the art....R.I.P.

tankie
13 Aug 09,, 22:11
RIP , i must say tho , i prefer a strat to a gibbo les paul ,just personal preference ;)

Bigfella
13 Aug 09,, 23:07
RIP , i must say tho , i prefer a strat to a gibbo les paul ,just personal preference ;)

Tankie, please, not with the body still warm.:)

A truly remarkable man. Think I need to get out the Zepplin tonight - Jimmy + Gibson Les Paul = ROCK AND ROLL!!!!!

tankie
13 Aug 09,, 23:13
Tankie, please, not with the body still warm.:)

A truly remarkable man. Think I need to get out the Zepplin tonight - Jimmy + Gibson Les Paul = ROCK AND ROLL!!!!!

:biggrin: but but but ,i liked the gibson , just not as much as the Fender ?

however i must say i loved the sound and sustain that people like Gary Moore got from it and the Albatross thingy tune by fleetwoodmac , which i think was done on a Gibbo ;)

Bigfella
14 Aug 09,, 09:11
:biggrin: but but but ,i liked the gibson , just not as much as the Fender ?

however i must say i loved the sound and sustain that people like Gary Moore got from it and the Albatross thingy tune by fleetwoodmac , which i think was done on a Gibbo ;)

Its OK Tankie. its like kids - just because you love one doesn't mean you can't love another just as much.:)

I think Carlos Santana did some good work with one - a master of sustain....and if you wanted a bit of 'rough', Neil Young did some great work with his Gibson LP.

tankie
14 Aug 09,, 11:57
Its OK Tankie. its like kids - just because you love one doesn't mean you can't love another just as much.:)

I think Carlos Santana did some good work with one - a master of sustain....and if you wanted a bit of 'rough', Neil Young did some great work with his Gibson LP.

Michael jackson syndrome huh :biggrin:

Got to agree on Santana tho , i was brought up listening to Hank Marvin , and it kinda stayed with me , i loved his playing and the sound of a strat ,Mark Knoppfler makes it sinnnnnnnnnng as well , at the mo im semi acc , playing a crafter , lovely sounding box , for the price ,its a shame the arthritis is very restricting in my fingers now , all my electric stuff i sold on , made more than it was bought for as well , woo hoo ;)

Dreadnought
14 Aug 09,, 14:03
Lots and lots of names to add to that list,

Chuck Berry
Dickie Bets (Almans)
George Thorogood

many many names.;)

Bigfella
14 Aug 09,, 14:10
Michael jackson syndrome huh :biggrin:

Got to agree on Santana tho , i was brought up listening to Hank Marvin , and it kinda stayed with me , i loved his playing and the sound of a strat ,Mark Knoppfler makes it sinnnnnnnnnng as well , at the mo im semi acc , playing a crafter , lovely sounding box , for the price ,its a shame the arthritis is very restricting in my fingers now , all my electric stuff i sold on , made more than it was bought for as well , woo hoo ;)


Saw a bit if footage tonight of Les playing about 9 years ago live on stage with Keef Richards. He still had it. Hope for you yet Tankie.:))

tankie
14 Aug 09,, 20:53
Saw a bit if footage tonight of Les playing about 9 years ago live on stage with Keef Richards. He still had it. Hope for you yet Tankie.:))

OH dem bones dem bones dem dryyyyyyy bones , hope so B/F :biggrin:

Debbie
14 Aug 09,, 21:17
Heard about this driving in, RIP

captain
16 Aug 09,, 09:57
RIP to a legend.

Here he is, complemented by another legend on a Gibson.

ByGsHTlKmWk

S2
16 Aug 09,, 16:49
Dickie and Duane both played sunburst 59' Les Paul's. Neil put away his Gretsch and began wrestling with ol' black, the jet-black beast that has since howled it's way to rock n' roll glory.

Most of all, though, the man. Les plugged in. Just ask the folks at the Newport Folk and Jazz festival how pissed off that made them when Dylan did the same twenty something years later.

What a long, amazing life he had! He saw and did so much as a musician and sonic innovator. Ain't a one of us not grateful for his vision as a pioneer.:)

Bigfella
16 Aug 09,, 22:57
Dickie and Duane both played sunburst 59' Les Paul's. Neil put away his Gretsch and began wrestling with ol' black, the jet-black beast that has since howled it's way to rock n' roll glory.

Most of all, though, the man. Les plugged in. Just ask the folks at the Newport Folk and Jazz festival how pissed off that made them when Dylan did the same twenty something years later.

What a long, amazing life he had! He saw and did so much as a musician and sonic innovator. Ain't a one of us not grateful for his vision as a pioneer.:)


Amen.

pate
23 Aug 09,, 07:34
YouTube - Pink Floyd With Syd Barrett - Interstellar Overdrive-Part 1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iA7wdO00VI)

Thanks Les, RIP...