Thursday, August 13, 2009

Les Paul, 1915-2009

This has nothing to do with beer, although beer and guitars go quite well together.

Les Paul died today, and for anyone who's been keeping track this year, Grim Reaper Class of 2009 has some big names in it.

Les Paul is one of the biggest.

Never mind for a minute the iconic, single-cutaway, solid-body electric guitar that bears his name and Jimmy Page's testimony to rock 'n' roll. The recording industry was stood on its ear by Les' innovations and his pursuit to put in his hands, and the hands of others, that which he did not have. Necessity is the mother of invention, and Les Paul was a member of that family.

Indeed, The Beatles would never have been able to go out on the high note that was Abbey Road were it not for Les Paul and multi-track recording.

The photo above, depicting his irreverent sense of humor, was shot in March 2006 during one of Les' Monday night stands at the Iridium in Manhattan, the second occasion we were fortunate enough to see him. He was 91 then and could quite ably hold a room with his guitar playing.

Les was a class act. And he's already missed.

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