Rock/Country/Jazz — A Les Paul is still a Les Paul

August 13, 2009

Although music didn’t die today, one of its real genius-producers did — Les Paul, dead at 94.

Mr. Paul was a remarkable musician as well as a tireless tinkerer. He played guitar alongside leading prewar jazz and pop musicians from Louis Armstrong to Bing Crosby.

Mr. Paul’s style encompassed the twang of country music, the harmonic richness of jazz and, later, the bite of rock ’n’ roll. For all his technological impact, though, he remained a down-home performer whose main goal, he often said, was to make people happy.

“Honestly, I never strove to be an Edison,” he said in a 1991 interview in The New York Times. “The only reason I invented these things was because I didn’t have them and neither did anyone else. I had no choice, really.”

(Illustration found here).

Of course, from Rolling Stone magazine and the current CEO of Gibson Guitars:

“Most people, when they think of Les Paul, they think about the guitar.
Which is the most popular guitar — certainly in the Gibson line, and probably in the world.
But very few people know the inventive genius behind the scenes.
I think an appropriate title for Les would be ‘the father of modern guitar.’
Before Les Paul, the guitar was being used with amplifiers, but it was still just a loud acoustic guitar.
Les really brought the guitar into the modern age, and created the modern sound.”

And for every kid who’s picked up a pick and started strumming — So long Les!

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