Les Paul R.I.P.

Written By: Jeff Markunas
(Americana/Country Editor)

The Wizard of Waukesha is dead (for you non-Cheese-heads that’s “wah-key-shaw.” Get it right!) Everything that you know about how music sounds, the way music is recorded and the sound of live performances can be directly traced to this musical Titan. Anyone who plays guitar professionally, live or in the studio, uses the technology he invented.

Les Paul’s career was textbook-size, so I’ll attempt to cut it down to fit our space.

* He Played/recorded with just about every famous singer and guitarist of the last 7 decades from Bing Crosby and Chet Atkins to Steve Miller.

* After inventing the solid-body guitar, he developed recording techniques, such as Sound on Sound, and Sound with Sound, that form the basis for all modern recordings.

* Les dominated the record charts and starred in his own TV show with wife Mary (a great singer and guitarist in her own right). They lived in a house designed by Les, and paid for by the Network, so that Les could film their live performances using the Les Paulverizer. The show also featured his inventions; the first guitar effects.

* Les was also a record producer, recording studio designer and superb guitarist/musical trickster (take Tiger Rag with banjo and mandolin impressions as well as multi-track vocals as a start).

* Les was a Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer, and small-club-gigging musician almost till the day he died.

Les starred in a Beer commercial a couple of years ago where he borrowed a struggling guitarist’s guitar and plays a bunch of classic riffs. After returning the guitar, the guitar player asks Les, “What’s your name?”

Les’ answer defines the classic Honor that is only afforded to the greatest guitarists.
“It’s on your guitar”

Well Les, it’s not on my guitar, but it’s on my heart – Miss ya.

Check out Les Paul’s “How High The Moon” in our Videos Section.

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