August 13th, 2009
Les Paul
Chasing Sound

IN MEMORIAM: LES PAUL 1915 – 2009

THE WIZARD OF WAUKESHA
By Dave Tianen
reprinted with permission from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

New York – For decades, arthritis has slowly devoured the talent in Les Paul’s hands.

The right essentially has become a stiff claw. The ring and pinkie are all that is usable on the left, and arthritis is eating away at them.

The right arm is mangled too, permanently bent at a 90 degree angle from a car wreck in 1948. There are seven screws in the arm, and the tendon in the elbow is shot.

Yet he continues to play.

Every Monday night, the great guitarist carries his 92-year-old body and his 44-year-old Gibson onstage at the Iridium Jazz Club at 51st and Broadway. Still introduced as “The Wizard of Waukesha,” he does two shows – one at 8, one at 10 – in the basement nightclub.

Both are packed. Always.

Many, perhaps most, in the crowd weren’t even born in the early ’50s when Paul and his wife Mary Ford were major stars on TV and radio, topping the charts with a succession of hits: “Tennessee Waltz,” “Mockin’ Bird Hill,” “How High the Moon,” “Tiger Rag” and “Vaya Con Dios.”

That music helped define an era, but Paul ignores most of it now, opting instead for the standards he played during his jazz days in the ’30s and ’40s. It matters little.

Paul is that rare case where legend trumps celebrity. His last top 10 hit was in 1955, and he’s rarely seen on TV. But his great legacy has been blending the talent of a gifted musician with the skills of an inventor and engineer.

Influenced by the great gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, Paul was one of the best and earliest electric guitarists. Along with a handful of players like George Barnes, Merle Travis and Charlie Christian, he changed the sound of popular music. And if Paul didn’t actually invent the solid body electric guitar (a fiction which he happily tolerates), he was a pioneer in its evolution, and he did more than anyone to popularize what would become the dominant instrumental voice of contemporary music.

His influence can be heard on almost every song on the radio, and musicians honor him with near reverence. Certainly no other Wisconsin musician approaches his impact on not just music, but popular culture.

Obsession with sound

A notorious fussbudget about sound, Paul arrives at the Iridium from his home in Mahwah, N.J., at 4:15 p.m., nearly four hours before his first show, so he has time to fine-tune the sound system. He is joined by his son and sound man Rusty, who lives with him, and another sound man. Since moving to its new locale at 1650 Broadway, the club has gone to great lengths to meet Paul’s demands.

“He made us change the whole sound system” club owner Irving Sturm cheerfully grumps. “We upgraded to like a $45,000 sound system, a Meyer sound system, because he is such a perfectionist. We did it, luckily for us, and the music has been very, very good. He’s a pain in the butt, a terrible perfectionist, he’s always bitching about something, but he’s always right.”

Of course, sound and its replication are a central part of the Les Paul saga. He is acknowledged as a father of multitrack recording, overdubbing and the electronic reverb effect. Multitrack recording had intrigued Paul since he experimented as a kid with poking extra holes in the sheets for his mom’s player piano.

In 1946, a gentleman named Colonel Dick Ranger approached Paul with a captured German tape recorder. Paul knew that Bing Crosby (whom Paul backed on a No. 1 hit in 1945) had been looking for recording techniques that would allow him to record at home. With financing from Crosby, and with the German prototype in hand, the Ampex Co. started making tape recorders.

Working in his own garage studio, Paul started to layer his own recordings. In 1947, he released a recording of the Rodgers and Hart standard “Lover” with eight guitars layered over each other. When “Lover” became a hit, he repeated the process and made a second hit, “Brazil.” Eventually, overdubbing became standard on his recordings.

It’s arguable that Paul’s impact on recording is as great as his impact on the evolution of guitars.

“I got a letter from Sinatra,” he says. “It’s a wonderful letter. I don’t remember the exact words, but he says if it wasn’t for you, I’d still be recording my first song. It was the multitrack recording he meant. Paul McCartney said the same thing: ‘I don’t care how much guitar you played, I don’t care how many hits you had, you invented that multitrack recording, and that made the difference.’ ”

Humble beginnings

Although he was a professional musician even as a child, Paul didn’t start out as a guitarist. Lester William Polfuss was born June 9, 1915, on North St. in Waukesha. The Polfuss family lived in an apartment adjoining the automobile garage Les’ dad operated. At age 8, Les was given an old harmonica by a construction worker, and within a year he was good enough to play in school talent contests.

When he was 9, his mother arranged for him to take piano lessons from a local woman who taught in her home. According to Mary Alice Shaughnessy, his biographer, after several lessons Les was sent home with a note that said: “Dear Mrs. Polfuss, your boy Lester will never learn music, so save your money. Please don’t send him for any more lessons.”

By the time he was 12, Les was making as much as $30 a week just playing for tips on the streets of Waukesha. About this time, Shaughnessy writes, Les acquired his first guitar, a $5 purchase earned by picking potato bugs off a local patch.

He also acquired a fascination with a regular on Chicago’s WLS Saturday Night Barn Dance called Pie Plant Pete. These were the early days of radio when live in-studio performers carried the programming load. Les idolized Pie Plant Pete, copied his sailor dress and even went to see him when the WLS troupe visited a Waukesha theater. Pete showed his fan some simple guitar chords and lighted a flame that continues to burn over seven decades later.

By the time he was 13, Shaughnessy relates, Les was a regular at local service clubs, talent shows and the Thursday night concerts at Waukesha’s Cutler Park band shell. At 17, going by the name Red Hot Red in reference to his hair color, he got an invitation to join Rube Tronson’s Cowboys, a regional country band. Within the year, Les had quit high school and become a full-time pro.

Through the 1930s, he followed one radio gig after another, moving to St. Louis and then to Chicago, migrating from his hillbilly roots to jazz and pop, and changing his stage name, first to Rhubarb Red and then to Les Paul. His big national break came in 1939 when, at age 24, he landed a job in New York with Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians, a big name band with a national radio show.

Developing ‘The Log’

Along the way, he kept tinkering with his instrument.

Hollow body electric guitars were being developed and commercially manufactured as early as the 1920s, but they were prone to distortion when amplified. When he was still in his Waukesha band shell days, Paul often found his acoustic guitar drowned out in a band.

He started experimenting with different ways to amplify the guitar. One experiment was to fill his hollow body guitar with plaster of Paris; it cut distortion but left him with a very, very heavy instrument. He apparently also tried mounting strings on an old railroad tie.

“He was an early innovator,” says Alan di Perna, West Coast editor for Guitar World. “There were other people who were technical innovators, but they didn’t play like Les did.”

By 1941, still only 26, Paul had fashioned a workable solid body guitar he dubbed The Log, since it was essentially a four-by-four block of solid pine with a tailpiece, two pickups and a Gibson neck mounted on it. Later, for appearances, he fixed two side wings from an Epiphone guitar so it would actually resemble a guitar.When he approached Gibson Guitars about the commercial potential of The Log, Shaughnessy reports, they told him it was “nothing but a broomstick with a pickup on it.”

By the early ’50s, Gibson started to revise its view of solid body electric guitars. A California engineer named Leo Fender had introduced a commercial solid body electric guitar, and Gibson didn’t want to get left behind. Their design department quickly put together its own version, and went to Paul seeking his endorsement.

So it was that in 1952, the Les Paul Guitar arrived, although Paul himself had contributed only minor elements to its design. The endorsement deal made him wealthy, and the brand name made him a legend.

Shaughnessy says: “Gibson made extraordinary guitars. That is why Les’ name lives on. It is not because of the four years of hit making. The reason he’s going to live long past his musical contributions is because of this extraordinary guitar that bears his name.”

As for The Log, it’s now in the collection of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Retirement and rebirth

During World War II, Paul was drafted into the Army, where he became a regular player for the Armed Forces Radio Service, or AFRS. Paul served his country living at home in Hollywood and playing on the radio with the biggest names of the day. After leaving the Army, he hooked up with the biggest recording act in the world – Bing Crosby – and in 1945, he and his trio scored their first No. 1 hit, backing Crosby on “It’s Been a Long Long Time.” Other hits followed. In the late ’40s, Paul linked up with a sweet-voiced backup singer for Gene Autry named Colleen Summers. Paul renamed her Mary Ford, and she became his professional partner. In 1949, he split with his first wife, Virginia Webb Paul, (the couple had two sons, Rusty and Gene) and married Ford on Dec. 29 of that year in the Milwaukee County Courthouse. At the time, the couple was in town for an extended engagement at a club called Fazio’s.

The couple eventually adopted a daughter, Colleen, and had a son of their own, Robert.

By the early ’50s, Les Paul and Mary Ford were one of the biggest acts in the music business, with a TV show, a radio show and a string of hit records. In the mid-1950s, though, the country’s taste in music changed almost overnight. Paul and Ford had one last top 10 hit, “Hummingbird,” in 1955.

Then rock ‘n’ rollers crushed his career with the very instrument he’d given them.

As his and Ford’s professional lives nose-dived, their marriage frayed as well. They were divorced in 1964.

On top of everything else, health was becoming an issue.

“The main reason I retired was because I injured this arm, this finger. I had surgery on it in ‘61. That was the beginning of my hand problems,” Paul says. Other health issues piled on top of the arthritis. In 1969, a friend playfully cuffed him on the head and broke his right eardrum. Three operations followed, but there was permanent hearing loss.

There was one bright spot: In the late ’70s, he made a Grammy-winning comeback with fellow guitar legend Chet Atkins on the album “Chester and Lester.” Then came more health problems. There was a heart attack followed by bypass surgery.

“Then came a funny thing. The doctor called me in his office,” Paul recalls. “He said, ‘I want you to promise me two things. One, I want you to be my friend, and two, I want you to work.’

“I said, ‘I thought that’s what got me in here.’

“He said, ‘Hard work never hurt nobody. I want you to promise me you’ll go back to the clubs.’

“So they wheeled me into the room and I asked the nurse for a piece of paper. I drew a line down the middle. I wrote down all the things I didn’t like, the things I couldn’t do. And I wrote the things I would like to do if I went back to work.”

Paul knew exactly what he wanted to do.

“For my whole career, all the things I’d done, nothing impressed me as much as just playing in a little club. There’s no pressure. You can do what you want to do.”

In his late 60s, already set for life financially, Paul started looking for work.

“I looked all over. I came to New York and I looked for a place. I finally walked up to the maitre d’ of the place and said, ‘My name’s Les Paul.’

“He said, ‘How many will be seated?’

“I said, ‘I don’t want to be seated. I want to talk to you about a job.’

“He looked at this old guy and thought, ‘He wants a job here?’

“So he said, ‘What kind of work do you do?’ – figuring I was going to wash dishes or something like that.

“I said, ‘I’m a musician. Obviously you’ve never heard of me.’

“I asked if he had an owner. I walked over to the owner and introduced myself to the owner and he said, ‘Not the Les Paul?’

“I knew that was good.

“He said, ‘What are you doing in this joint?’

“I said, ‘I’m looking for a job. I want to go to work. I want to come in here and play with a trio one night a week.’ I said, ‘I hear you’re closed on Monday.’

“‘Yeah,’ he said, ‘We’re closed. I don’t know how we can work that out.’

“I said, ‘Well, I’ll work for nothing.’

“He said, ‘We’re open Mondays!’ ”

Back to the stage

From 1984 to 1995, Paul, backed by Lou Pallo on guitar and Wayne Wright on bass, was a Monday night fixture at Fat Tuesdays. But the hands continued to get worse. To cope with the pain, Paul took medication, which eventually gave him an ulcer. There was no choice but to quit playing.

While Paul was mending, he got a call from Ron Sturm, the owner of a new jazz club in New York City.

“He said, ‘When you’re ready, I want you here. No matter what the deal is, we’ll top it. We want you.’ So I knew I had a home when I got well enough,” Paul recalls.

Still, when he came to the Iridium in 1996, he had doubts.

“I thought, ‘What am I going to do? I can’t play like I used to. I can’t do what I used to do. The hands are all messed up. What am I going to do?’ … I’d been away from it for a year. I went up there and the audience seemed to not mind at all.

“It was at that time that a woman came over to the bar. She said she didn’t want to drink, she just wanted to talk to Les Paul. She was a nurse. She said, ‘I came over here to tell you something.’ She said, ‘Many of the people who are coming in to see you are coming because of what you used to do, but they’re not expecting you to do what you used to do. They’re expecting to see and hear what you can do now… .’ She made me understand that if Joe Louis got into the ring at 75, he’s not going to be what he was when he was 20. And nobody expects him to be that. So with that in mind, I went up on the stage with an understanding of myself, what I could do and what I couldn’t do and I could live with it. And it worked.”

Deep, wide imprint

Paul’s influence continues to ripple through rock, jazz and country. All Music Guide describes his style as “astonishingly fluid, hard-swinging” with “extremely rapid runs, fluttered and repeated single notes and clunking rhythm support.” It was a style that carried him easily across musical boundaries. The late Atkins, surely the most influential of all country pickers (and an important architect of the Nashville sound), always cited Les Paul as a major touchstone.

“The story’s been repeated of Les coming to Springfield, Missouri, and seeing Chet play at KWTO and Chet, not knowing that Les was watching, was trying to impress this guy who was paying special attention to what Chet was doing,” recalls Jay Orr, senior museum editor of the Country Music Hall of Fame. “Then later he found out that it was Les Paul. Chet felt a little bashful because he had been showing off with some of Les Paul’s patented licks.”

Although he’s never played rock ‘n’ roll himself, Paul’s imprint has been felt on rock since the beginning.

Many second generation ’60s rockers grew up listening to the Ventures and their guitar hits, such as “Walk, Don’t Run” “Perfidia” and “Hawaii 5-O.” Bob Bogel of the Ventures says Paul was a huge inspiration to his band.

“We were influenced by him, but we didn’t try to play his style,” Bogel says. “He was way too accomplished for us… . I’ve always admired his work and I’ve always been a huge fan of his. In interviews they’d ask us our influences and we’d always say The Big Three: Les Paul and Chet Atkins and Duane Eddy.” Today major rock guitarists such as Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Slash have acknowledged their debt. Jazz musicians pay him homage as well. Some of the highest profile players in the world, such as George Benson and Al Di Meola, are huge fans. Di Meola played at Paul’s 88th birthday party at the Iridium.

At his Monday night shows, brother celebrities come to pay homage almost as a matter of course. Tony Bennett. Harry Belafonte. Brian Setzer. George Benson. Paul McCartney. Jeff Beck. Paul Shaffer. Keith Richards.

Reflecting on the common heritage shared by such disparate artists and styles of music, blues rocker Jon Paris says, “All roads lead to Les.”

In his element

In the late afternoon, the basement jazz club is deserted except for staffers setting out gray tablecloths and place settings. Vintage jazz posters dot the walls: Cab Calloway at the Cotton Club … Benny Goodman at some hotel in Pittsburgh. Diana Krall’s version of “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” is heard through the monitors. Although reputed to be “richer than God,” the old guitarist carries his Gibson solid body in a battered case with frayed edges and duct tape wrapped around the handle.

A notoriously indifferent dresser, Paul is resplendent by his standards: black slacks and a short black jacket over a burgundy turtleneck. Perched on a stool, fussing over his guitar, he has an almost professorial countenance. The pudgy frame he had in his prime has thinned and withered. The carrot hair has whitened and thinned. He wears glasses, and there are hearing aids in both ears. Still, for a man edging toward 90, he moves fairly well. But when he walks only the left arm swings. That crooked right arm just hangs.

Gradually the rest of the band drifts in. Rhythm guitarist Lou Pallo has played with Paul off and on for 40 years. Acoustic bassist Nicki Parrott, 32, is a much newer addition. She came to the states from Australia on an arts council scholarship and stayed, and has been playing with Paul for 21/2 years. Joining them tonight will be guitarist Howard Alden, a boyish 40-year-old with an imposing list of jazz credits. The sound check/rehearsal material anticipates the sets: “All of Me,” “Begin the Beguine,” “Caravan,” “Tennessee Waltz” done as a guitar boogie.

“He rehearses the same material week after week,” says Iridium co-owner Ellen Hart. “He’s very precise. Everything has to be exact.” Eventually, Paul gets the sound where he wants it and the band heads backstage for a chicken dinner. Here, Paul is perhaps even more in his element, greeting visitors and holding court.

A thirtyish documentary filmmaker is sitting next to Paul on a couch, and she scratches his back while they chat. She stops for a moment, and he pipes up with, “OK. My crotch itches now.”

Without a pause she fires back, “I can take care of that!”

Nurturing Waukesha tie

Paul claims he’s busier than ever, no small boast from a man renowned as a hard pusher who continues to live on what Nashville calls Central Elvis Time. He rarely rises before noon or 1 p.m. and stays up typically until 4 a.m. This day, he will do two one-hour sets at the Iridium, sign autographs until midnight, do two radio interviews and eventually turn in back in Mahwah around 8 a.m.

“His pace is go-go-go. Even now,” says his friend and biographer Robb Lawrence, who lived with the guitarist for several months in the mid-’70s. Paul is working on two books and coordinating Les Paul exhibits at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the Smithsonian Institution and the Waukesha County Historical Society & Museum.

Although the Historical Society is still fund-raising and hasn’t set an opening date, Executive Director Sue Baker says: “It will be the showcase exhibit in the museum. It will be 5,000 square feet. It will be large and hands-on. When you walk in, you will walk into Les’ world in Waukesha.”

Paul clearly loves to reminisce and spin tales about the old days. Lawrence says, “Les has a great sense of humor, and he is known to create tall stories for the love of it.”

Shaughnessy agrees. “He overwhelms you with stories,” says the author of “Les Paul: An American Original,” published in 1993. “He’s a champion storyteller. Half of it is bull, but it’s fun to listen to.”

Bing Crosby is clearly a favorite topic. Working with Crosby on radio, Paul backed such legends as Bob Hope, Jimmy Durante, W.C. Fields, the Andrews Sisters and Frank Sinatra. He claims to remember being there the first time Crosby and Sinatra met. He recalls Crosby was wary before the show.

“Bing was in the men’s room. So I go in the men’s room and I’m right next to him and Bing says to me, ‘Can the kid sing?’ That was his question.

“I said, ‘I’m afraid so.’

“So I walked out and he was still in there washin’ and puttin’ his wig on. So I walked out and Hedda Hopper (the gossip columnist) was there. I was leaning against the door. She said, ‘Have you seen Bing?’ I said, ‘Yeah, he’s in there.’ She said thanks and she went in.

“So Bing comes out and he says, ‘Where’s that goddamn redhead?’ ”

A special night

Business interrupts the backstage chat. It’s showtime. The Iridium introduces him as “The man who changed the music for all of us – The Wizard of Waukesha – Les Paul.”

The stories continue on-stage. Some of them are awful jokes at the expense of Pallo. And there’s lots of benign flirting with Nicki Parrott. He tells the crowd she makes him feel like an old building with a new flagpole.

She rejoins with a randy blues song: “I’m an evil gal, Les; I like older men; think they’re the best; One night with Les and you’ll forget all the rest. Les, get that Viagra.”

Woven into the comedy are the songs: “Sunny Side of the Street.” “Blue Skies.” “Over the Rainbow.” “Someone To Watch Over Me.” “It Had To Be You.” “The Sheik of Araby.” “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.” “Sweet Georgia Brown.” One of the old hits with Ford – “How High the Moon.” Paul even sings “Bill Bailey.” Everybody gets to solo, and there’s clearly an effort to rest that ailing left hand.

During the second set, the guests start to come up. There’s a dancer friend of Parrott’s named Roxane Butterfly. She tap dances to “Tea For Two” and the crowd loves it. Old friend and fellow Wisconsinite Jon Paris comes up. With him tonight is former Muddy Waters band member Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin. Margolin romps through an impromptu “Don’t Let Me Kill This Woman Please.”

Everything works. The crowd loves Margolin. They love Paris. Most of all, they love Paul. For an encore, he does “Paper Moon.”

“This is a wonderful night for us,” he tells the crowd.

After the show, he sits at a table in back of the club and signs autographs and poses for pictures for two hours. A line of perhaps 60 people stretches through the club. Everybody gets an autograph, a picture or both. Some get two or three autographs.

The left hand is still iced, but Paul sits patiently, sipping a Haake Beck non-alcoholic beer, chatting and posing for pictures. He signs books, CDs, pictures, programs, guitars, ball caps and body parts. A professor from Texas, in New York with a group of students, insists he sign her breast with a felt pen, and he cheerfully obliges.

“I sign lots of boobs,” he says.

The fans, who appear to range in age from early 20s to early 60s, approach Paul with a mixture of good cheer and awe.

“Mr. Paul, I can’t say what a privilege this is. My whole life I’ve been waiting to meet you… . ”

“Can I have a hug?”

“Hi Mr. Paul. It’s a honor to meet you… . Thank you for all you’ve done. It certainly made my life more enjoyable.”

Everyone gets a moment, and Paul seems to love it almost as much as they do. And yet there’s a part of it that still mystifies him.

He mentions it while leaving the club.

“Bing asked me, ‘Why do people like me?’ He didn’t know. I don’t think he or Sinatra understood that. I’m the same way. I have no idea why people like what it is that I do.”

  • mimi ward

    My brother, Dave Crawford, (God rest him!) first introduced to the marvelous music of Les Paul in the very early ’50s. In ‘52, the rest of the family went to Brazil, except for Dave, who went to a gawd awful Christian school, where they confiscated and destroyed his Les Paul records. (”wicked and from the devil! ‘) BUT, as an adult, when I returned to the USA, I was able to purchase some Les Paul 8 track recordings to give to my brother, which his sons now own. I just want to say “thanks so much” for the joy and wonder of this great man and his music…not only for the hours and hours of pleasure it has brought me and my own (8) kids, but for the inspiration he and his music has brought to the world. Thank you Mr. Paul, thank you for more than I can tell you.

    Words pale before music,

    God Bless,

    Mimi

  • Samantha

    Les Paul is really cool!!! like im doing him for National History Day! He is like so COOL! The electric guitar is ahhmazing! =] Samantha♥

  • Deanne Crosby

    Hi -
    You played with my grandfather Don Ross/Rorhs back in the day. I’m his Granddaughter. He died when I was two years old. I’m lookig for answers. Please e-mail
    back to let me know if your right Les Paul the family
    is talking about. Thanks for your time.
    Deanne

  • Paul Kelly

    Les Paul is a great guitarist with real technical ability and feel all guitarists owe him a great deal.

  • Judy Farrar Nicholson

    I grew up singing along with Les Paul and Mary Ford. Mom and Dad would put the 78’s on the Hi-Fi and listen, sing and sometimes dance. The PBS show was so nostalgic; both for the happy moments in my childhood and also the songs that were in our hearts.

  • Peter Zatezalo

    In 1966 I used to listen to the Les Paul albums that I bought. I play drums and did shows with Merle Travis in Alaska. He mentioned you at his show !! I have some tunes of you and Merle playing together. Wow Two Greats. Stay healthy and keep on Picking. You signed my friends 45 Rpm record Bob Burwell. He treasures that. And I have a picture of that signature and also will treasure that . Good Luck Always Peter Z……………

  • Jo Ball

    I live in the UK and remember being totally blown away by How High the Moon as a young teenager. To my shame I had forgotten all about you, Les, until a BBC program recently. After all these years now aged 65 I am STILL blown away by that fantastic sound – the years have just rolled away.
    I am so glad I have found you again…..
    Keep on trucking
    Love
    Jo

  • Jeffrey Thomas

    I live in the US and I have to do a senior project and a senior paper. For my project, I chose to learn two songs and two scales, and I chose to write my paper on you (Les Paul), and your GREAT inventions that revolutionized music as we know it, and without them, music would just not be the same. If you have any information or ideas, please e-mail me anytime.
    Thanks,
    Jeffrey Thomas

  • andrew

    whoa that’s a big coincidence samantha cuz im doing Les Paul for my National History Project too

  • Jim Wulfkuhle

    I just rented the dvd where can I buy a copy?
    I was amazed when I saw all of the things Les Paul has created above and beyond playing music.

  • John Escobar

    What a great program, Thanks PBS for bringing us history back, I am only 37 and listenig to Les Paul since I was 20 and always is a pleasure…now seen chassing sound on tv got me in the clouds!!! Thanks!!!

  • Karl Anderson

    Les Paul’s multi-track tape recording concept not only revolutionized the recording of music, but the recording of scientific data as well. As a retired NASA engineer, let me say thanks, Les, for this amazing tool! -Karl

  • Louis Conforti

    I was six years old when “How High The Moon” was so very popular on the radio, and I absolutely loved the song and all the other songs you made. Thanks, Les, for a lifetime of good music that still brings so much pleasure to all of us.

  • Brian Dockendorf

    les paul will remain a music hero for he will leave a legacy twice the length of his life with over 48 hit singles most with mary ford and 42 albums this man should be a hero to every guitar player.

  • Beth & Michael

    We just saw Les and his fabulous band on Monday 23 March 09 and they were GREAT! The humour, energy and enthusiasm is infectious and there’s NOTHING in the world like seeing the smile on Les’s face as the music starts to smoke… Priceless! Our advice to all is to GET thee to the Iridium Club for Les Paul Mondays – NOW!

  • Dana Kelly

    While working in an Austin, Texas music store in the mid-70’s, a gentleman complimented my piano playing. Later that evening at a guitar demonstration, I realized that Les Paul had given me the compliment!!!!

  • Jon Evans

    “Why do people like me?” I will tell ya Les, because in high school when people wrote -Live life to the fullest- in your year book, you did. You are an inspiration. Your timeline has touched so many. Thank You, your a gift to humanity.

  • CHARLES ANDRASKO,JR.

    DEAR LES, I WAS SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR PAINFUL ARTHRITIS. I HAVE TENDINITIS, AND I USE THIS NEW “BIO FREEZE” AND IT TAKES THE PAIN COMPLETELY AWAY. I HOPE YOU COULD TRY IT. IT SURE WORKS WONDERS WITH ME.
    YOURS IN CHRIST,
    CHAS. ANDRASKO,JR.

  • John Hamilton

    Dear Les,
    Ever since I first heard “The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise”, by Les Paul and Mary Ford, I’ve been hooked on the Les Paul sound! There’s nothing else like it, and no other guitar player even comes close to getting that sound. And the speed at which you played those triplets, was truly on loan from God Himself. You and Mary made a great team, and I can truly say that my life is richer because of the music that you two made together. Your records sound as fresh and innovative today as they did back in 1959, when I was first introduced to your music.
    I have had the pleasure of meeting you, and hearing you play twice. And both times I was amazed, and thoroughly entertained. Thanks for all the great music. I wish you good health, and many more happy years ahead!

  • René Staal

    Dear Les,
    Being a fan of yours from the fifties on, I think your music today sounds as fresh as it did then – so “if music is the food of love, play on!” – and thanks for all of it!

  • Bob Parsons

    Thanks Sir for all you have done, not just for the instrument, but the means to record, in multiple tracks… We all hear the legacy you left behind.
    God Bless You!!!

  • al penhorwood

    your version of tiger rag always takes me back to Sydney Australia in the early 50,s when i was a 16 year old seaman It blew me away and still does.I,d love to see you play. Keep going partner

  • Norman Thomas

    Dear Sir,
    My 16 YO son and I watched you on PBS last night and we both were in awe. He plays an SG and aspires to “go pro”. After watching your performance (amazing for a man any age) he went into his room and started working his fingering exercises. He too has an insatiable curiosity about how stuff works. We both agreed on one thing. The best we can all do in this day is to imitate. The true innovation has already been done. I am not a big fan of NYC but I am planning to come up to the Iridium to catch your show while you are still playing.
    Thank you for making all our lives better.
    NT.

  • joe saunders

    dear Les…when I was a kid in the 60’s I found some 78’s my dad had of you and mary ford…I was amazed and intrigued as to how you could play so fast…my dad said …you learn to play like les paul and you’ll always have work and fun playing..I’m 61 and still have my own country band…I bought a les paul custom in 1973 and still have it, still playit..never had anything go wrong with it and have never had a problem with the neck or frets ..all original…love the guitar and you les for making my life a better place to live in!!hope somehow to get to ny. to see you and show you my “girl”your friend ,joe saunders

  • Kelly L.

    Dear Les,
    I’m a professional musician in Washington state. I’ve been a fan since I was 5-6 years old in 79-80 when I first heard your music. I’ve been more of a blues player and have finally seen the light after all these years and am focusing on putting strong jazz flavors in my music. There’s many artists I like, but not as much as your music. Perfection.. Pure and simple. Thanks a million. Kelly L.

  • Gary Neff

    6:00am on a saturday I was going biking with my friends at 6:30… I put on the tube and PBS was running Les Paul, Chasing Sound… I couldn’t stop watching… now,, 1 1/2 hours late,, our bike run got started…

  • Richard

    Bless Les Paul and his family and friends for the sonic world he and they have given us. Thank you Les, rest in peace.

  • Jordan

    RIP Les Paul.

  • Jana Rocha knutesen

    I’m so sorry a ledgend has passed on, he gave so much to the world… I almost got to meet him, once his daughter colleen invited me to go on holiday with her but, I was only 10 and my parents wouldn’t let me travel across the stats from ca. Collen was in my wedding back in 81, I can’t find Colleen and I now live in Seattle, I wish I could talk to her and give her some words of comfort or just be an ear and listen. Please help me find her. Our family used to call her hippy and red with love. Again so sorry! Jana

  • James S

    LES PAUL,YOU ARE THE TRUE PUNK ROCKER OF ALL TIME AND YOU’LL BE MISSED,GOD SAVE THE KING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! RIP SWEET KING

  • Tim H

    Rest in peace, Paul.

  • Tim H

    [Rest in peace, Les. I must have had the Paul McCartney photo in mind.]

  • Steve

    Dangit.. now who will fill the world with his great sound… :( We will miss you Les

  • Kirk Steinbruecker

    Thank you for all you did for music. Your accomplishments will never be forgotten. I will never forget getting to interview Les Paul back in college, what a memory that is. God Bless you.

  • Cliff Frederiksen

    I’ve been a professional guitarist for 50 plus years and have stolen lick after lick from this amazing guitarist.His death is an enormous loss. God Bless Him.

  • Brenda Nelms S.

    I had read that Les Paul had died. He was a true force. I read a few biographies of his life. I became somewhat interested in what became of his life after his divorce from Mary Ford. I was wondering if he ever remarried after that relationship. The articles mentioned very little about his personal life. Through all of the articles, they only mentioned one son and that his arm was hurt in an accident. I guess I wanted to know more about the man and his personal life later in life.

  • Andy Milikin

    The world will be a little less bright. Another star has has gone out. Long live Les Paul!

  • Glenn Paul Scrimshaw

    I live in the UK and have just heard the tragic news that Les Paul has passed away. I feel so sad as I imagine countless music lovers throughout the world will also be feeling.
    I’ve been playing guitar from the age of twelve and was brought up listening to the wonderful records of Les Paul and Mary Ford, I’m now 58 years old and still playing for a living.
    This year I had made up my mind to come on a pilgrimage to New York to see and hopefuly meet the genius that had been my inspiration for all these years.
    Sadly this was not to be.
    Les Paul is one of the world’s greatest musical legends and his passing will leave a huge void but the man and his musical creations will live on in our hearts for ever.
    God bless you Les Paul.

  • Levi Taylor

    Sad to say good bye but at the same time Thanks to Life and how each of us can leave behind so much or so little , But in Les Paul’s case we will never know of all the tremendous contributions that was left behind for many to listen, to imagine, explore, dream and play,
    God Bless,

  • Wm. Hunn

    Good bye Les Paul

    thank you for everything

  • Zane Hunt

    Such a sad loss of one of the worlds best ever guitar players, guitar builder and creator of multi-tracking (and much more to his credit)……’Les Paul’. I watched a video of his in 2007, and he was still gigging (doing 2 shows a day) at …age 92. He had arthritis in his hands and could only use his ring finger and pinkie, but was still Totally Amazing. He is one of my idols and one of my biggest inspirations. RIP

  • Suzie Kriz

    Thursday, August 13, 2009

    Les Paul “The Wizard of Waukesha” “Play” it forward.

    I just heard that one of my greatest Heros died today. No disrespect for Michael Jackson, but Les Paul’s death affects me a 100 times more than the King of POP. Les was an awesome man who I’ve always admired and actually had dreams of “Jammin” with. Besides being the FATHER of analog multitrack recording and the “real” inovator of the Electric Guitar, Les was a magnificent musician. I grew up listening to him and the incomparable Mary Ford, and remember dancing around to his lively “Jams” with Chet Atkins. Someone gave our family a beat-up classical guitar which I used to “pick along with Les”, to teach myself to play. Following his signature SYTLE (and the man was PURE style…) was no easy task for a beginner. But I learned… and I learned to find my own style. Since then I’ve found inspiration in many players with real heart, guys like Steve Vai, Jason Becker, Eric Clapton, Jimmi Page, Eddie Van Halen, Nuno Bettencourt, Carlos Santanna and Stevie Ray Vaughn. I remember I cried the day Stevie Ray died, and now the tears have found their way to wet my cheeks again as I write this and think back on how many ways Les inspired my life.

    Bless You Les, may the Spirit hold you in love for eternity, for it has already “shared” you in the “Quantum” respect with the whole world in all that you’ve said and done.

    Les, you were “more” to so many people that you will ever know. You “inspirited” me with the desire to know more about the “electronics” of modern sound and multi-track recording. You gave me the courage to actually replace (by myself) burnt-out resistors on my first beat-up , inheireted mixing board. Because of you, I wanted to know “How” Guitar pickups worked… so I found a non-working, Beater Electric Guitar at the Flea Market and rebuilt it, painfully with a soldering iron. Because of you, I became curious as to “How” microphones worked which inadvertantlly led to my life long persuit and investigation of Cymatics and Sound and Healing.

    Les, because you inspired me at such a young age, your inspiration worked in a “Play it forward” kinda way. I remember at the beginning of MIDI back in the early 80’s when I thought I wanted to be a techno-geekette and worked as a technician at Borland International. Always being drawn back to the science of sound, I charted out three different pitches of frequencies for accessing the “Beep” function interupt on an IBM PC, just so I could make it play music… I couldn’t wait to “Share” that information with all my programmer friends. I sent copies of those charts to programmers from around the world, and soon people from all over the world were sending me copies of Programs they wrote using my charts; playing great peices like Bach and Motzart and Oscar Meyer Weiner Commercial tunes… Gee Les, You will never know how “Infectious” your inspiration truely was or how many “Ear-worms” were created because of something you did or said.

    Someday I’ll actually record and post my Ode to LES PAUL. Years ago I played it for my Guitar Instructor Pat McCormack , and he suggested I call it ” More is Les ” and it stuck. Truely Les, you will never be forgotten. Once I get my music website (1asong.com ) fully integrated. I will dedicate a whole page just to you. Keep playing it forward Red!

  • Liz Penprase

    RIP Les, hope your playing long and hard in music heaven.

  • Lynda Wells

    Darling Les, rest in peace, dear, dear genius. You changed the course of music history, and thank God you will live forever through your contributions. I will miss you. I send Rusty my love and prayers. And to you, Les, Vaya Con Dios.

  • dennis m

    Such a bittersweet night… listening to all the greatness and reading… but knowing he is gone forever. Vaya Con Dios, Les.

  • Stacie Keenan

    Feel so fortunate that most everyone in my family got to see the Les Paul Trio at the Iridium, and I enjoyed meeting him. He was so funny, vibrant, and generous. What a gift to humanity he was, and he will be missed!

  • Gayan

    I don’t believe there’s anything beyond the veil but you will always live in our memories. Thank you Les. RIP.

  • Shirley B

    I worked at Iridium for two years and it was with the utmost pride and joy that I had the privilege of working on Monday evenings at the Les Paul show. As well as putting on a great show, Les would sit at a table after the first and last performance to meet and greet all his fans who would be lined up the stairs with their memorabilia in hand, waiting for his autograph. He would always take the time to talk to each of his fans and look them in the eye and understand where they are coming from. Sometimes he would invite some of the fans to play on stage with him. I will always remember him as an unassuming, down-to-earth person who appreciated his fans, a bottle of beer and above all, loved what he did. God bless you Les, you will be missed.

  • Steve Rogers

    I feel your loss, Les. You’ve lived through the entire history of the electric guitar and you leave behind a world where Gibson and Fender are as strong as ever, a world changed forever by your instrument.

  • Daniel Tuček

    R.I.P. Les Paul! We will never forget you!!! ;(

  • Manny Pavone

    I had the honour and priviledge of meeting Les on 3 different occasions, once at Fat Tuesdays and twice at the Iridium and to my surprise he remembered my Brother and I. He was like no other person in the world. A master of everything he did. Rest in Peace Les….

  • Eddie Kennedy

    …being raised in Waukesha County (s.e. Wisconsin), we pride ourselves from where we’re from. And no one would be more proud to be raised up in the same county that a legend was from. If it wasn’t for the magic that the “Wizard of Waukesha” invented, there would not be music today as we hear it. Guitar virtuosos, sound engineers, music lovers – all owe a huge “tip of the hat” to “Red Hot Red”…, a TRUE pioneer in sound. He will be truly missed globally, but mostly missed in his hometown. Wisconsinites everywhere are mourning this giant in the music and recording industries. R.I.P. Les Paul, we love you; all the best to your family in this time;…and may your magic captivate audiences forever…

  • Charles M DeLettre

    All I can say is that I will watch hopefully, the video of this bio on Les Paul on the PBS Special, but
    sadly I must add my special Ovation to him now at his
    passing on August 13, 2009 (yesterday). It is making
    a lot of news headlines in all areas of media to show just how legendary this guitarist and creative inventor of his baby, the solid body cutaway electric which he refined, and also revolutionized the recording industry with his multi-layered track recording technique, and equipment which made his
    and Mary Ford’s music so beautiful to me and all who
    loved their music. His mastery is going to be hard to
    beat along with Chet, and a handfful of other popular/jazz guitarists. I used to love Kenny Burrell’s jazz guitar too. I wished I could have
    made it to nyc to hear and see him at the Iridium Hotel. He must have loved that gig! Now he is playing with the finest in the string section. RIP Les! Thank God we will have your recordings. cmd, jaxfl

  • richard disch

    I talked with a man with some responsibility at Rock n Roll Hall of Fame ( a cool guy, maybe aybe some kind of director). He said you are a great human being. I’m proud I bought a gold a gold top traditional. Have fun playing with Chet. After you get done playing, One take is good is enough. You get it right the first time. I know you’ll be smiling.
    Rick Disch

  • Michelle Clifton

    I will forever regard Les Paul as one of the great innovators of our time. He was “Americana at its best.” With admiration, and with sadness, I say thank you for everything that you’ve done.

  • Craig Steele

    I was saddened to hear of Mr. Paul’s passing today. I am a bit shocked that I am the 1st to post on this as well. My warmest thoughts go out to his family & friends.
    I am a guitarist and have found that the instuments that are his namesake have no equal… there’s simply nothing out there that matches a Les Paul!
    Anyone who has anything to do with music be they musician, producer or consumer owes you a debt of gratitude.
    Thank you so much! Your brilliance and virtuocity will never be forgotten!
    RIP
    -Craig

  • Sid Pisanis

    I live in Indonesia when I hear your music for the first time. I felt in love with Mary’s voice and you and your guitar. My favorite is still Vaya Con Dios. You leaving us sadden me, but GOD in haven is smiling when you and Mary play and sing for HIM. Rest in peace Paul and Mary, Sid Pisanis

  • Neal Riordan

    Sadly Les Paul went to guitar heaven yesterday.Lucky for us,PBS has the best documentary about him called
    “Chasing Sound”.It would be great if they could run it again this weekend as a tribute to the master and everyone that he’s touched,especially me.I bought my first Gibson Les Paul in 1975.It was a 1969 Cherry Sunburst DeLuxe model in diamond condition.I’ve been playing over 40 years and there is nothing like playing a Les Paul.Just ask anyone who plays,it has a soul unto it’s own,that with some talent and practice
    it allows us to pour our soul into the guitar,and out comes your own unique sound.I love playing my Les Pauls.Rest in Peace Les!

  • Mike

    I am a young man… a few weeks shy of 24 and I bought an Ipod 2 years back.. I had seen my fathers cd collection and will rip Cd’s form time to time. and so without hesitation i decided to put the Les Paul and Mary Ford CD @ Les Paul Greatest Hits on my Ipod.

    … Before i go on… i must also say i have been a musician for 12 years now.. i write play and record music… and i have always admired you Mr. Paul for the many many inventions you came up with, but i never had a deep deep love for your music.. until the last couple years.. I’m a Metal muscian..i love heavy metal… but… i am a huge fan of all your music… its great for a summer day or a relaxing day with the family or driving.. …anything really.

    Your passing away has brought upon great great sadness to m and my whole family. Although i know your with God and walk with all his Greatness… Me and my whole family feel a great loss… and will miss you.. Mr. Paul….. you were a true talent among many…

    God Bless, Mike

  • Frank DeCarlo

    Rest In Peace, Les Paul.

  • Ken Karns

    Les Paul was an inspiration to many in the music industry me included.All of us will miss Les and his fantastic talent and his wide smile.Theres some great videos of Les and Chet Atkins on UTUBE.Thanks for all you left us Les.The world is a better place having known you

  • Art mke

    Les Paul and Mary Ford played often at our house by way of their 5-minute, black-and-white TV program, a very early musical influence on me. This documentary and all the special features showcase Les Paul.

    Les Paul’s House of Sound lives on the second floor of Discovery World, Milwaukee, including episodes of “Les Paul and Mary Ford at Home.”

    http://DiscoveryWorld.org/LesPaul.php

  • sylvain booster leroux

    r.i p. les and thank for your creation of the electic guitar

  • BOB PEARSON

    I finally met you on the campus of Georgia Tech-Atlanta. You were setting up for an outdoor concert/show later that evening. Being a TOP DJ, I had you on lots. 1962. You made MY SHOW TOPS. BILLBOARD selected me as one of the TOP FIVE M>O>R> DJs in the country for two consecutive years. LES PAUL GOD BLESSED YOU with brain of a TRUE MUSICAL GENIUS. MAY YOUR MUSIC and all your inventions and innovations LIVE ON TIL THE END OF TIME. THANK YOU SIR FOR ALL THE PLEASURE THAT “Jazz Me Blues,” “Nola,” “Chicken Reel,” Little Rock Get Away, ” ” Meet Mr. Callahan,” and all the rest have give me and friends thru the years. I THANK GOD FOR ALLOWING YOU TO LIVE A FULL LIFE OF 94 YEARS. Sincerely .. Bob Pearson DJ – Semi Retired in Dallas now.

  • Mag Corley

    I had the pleasure and honor to meet Les and to hear
    him play in person. He was a very humble man and al-
    ways referred to me as his Badger friend because we
    were from the same state. Will miss him very much.

  • Bernice Rotondi

    Les Paul was a genius of great humility whose humanity shone in all he did. What a pleasure to see this Great American Master.

  • cheryl pyle

    r-i-p les paul- for you gave us , electric guitar, multi track recording and so much great music all these years.. cl pyle.. jazz flutist nyc

  • Luis Bonilla

    Lo siento

  • lee

    Please run the American Masters show again

  • George H. Malgeri

    I met Mr. Paul on 11/4/06 at Kean University, he played there for about 3 hours. He signed my 1961 Les Paul Custom Guitar, it was an honor. He was a real gentleman and very considered. He was one of a kind and will be greatly missed.

  • MIKE WISCHERTH

    I MISSED THIS PROGRAM OF LES PAUL–PLEASE SHOW IT AGAIN…THANKS…AGAIN PBS

  • Theo Dimson

    HOW HIGH THE MOON MR PAUL? You are the best.in every way. Thank you
    for enriching my musical journey.

  • Bonnie Rosenberg

    I also missed the airing of the tribute to Les Paul. You have to air it again.
    Thanks American Masterpiece and PBS.

  • Katherine from Maui

    I was traveling for 13 months as a “gypsy, on the road”, based out of New York in 2007. I had the privilege of being thoroughly entertained by Mr. Paul, the Master, and his friends twice…in October, ‘07 and New Year’s eve 12/31/07. Both times right in the front–up close–I’ll never forget it!! Both were the last shows of the evening and as late as it was he took the time to sign autographs and meet any guest who wanted to meet with him. He is the most generous artist I’ve ever met. I have a picture with him “kissing” me on the cheek. I even sketched him and he signed that sketch. These treasures are dear, just like the memories I keep in my heart of him. The world is a better place because of Mr. Les Paul. God bless his soul and my prayers go out to his family that lives on, and the world that has become his family. With Aloha….a kat who will miss you.

  • John from Waukesha

    I grew up in Les Paul’s home town of Waukesha, Wisconsin… many of the scenes from the program are personally familiar to me. I spent many an evening in the Club 400 Tavern, just a few blocks away. When I was a teenager I took guitar lessions from a gentleman named Floyd Jester in the basement the music shop in Waukesha. He’s long retired and in his 70s now but I remember his stories of Les Paul when he was a young musician…and of course, I bought a cheap Les Paul guitar to learn on. Just seemed right…

    I’ll miss Les Paul, the most famous thing to ever come out of my home town.

  • John

    Les and I had a mutual musical friend (not a celebrity) and I inrtoduced myself to him in the Gibson booth at a trade show in 1984. I asked him about a run in “How High the Moon.” We played together for a while. We both were sitting on stools with guitars in out laps. It was a little like a calculus student doing a general math problem with Einstein. He talked to me for about 90 minutes and wouldn’t let me leave. While I was there he introduced me to numerous musicians that came to pay homage to him most whom you would know. They ranged from Rudy Svarzo the bass player for Quiet Riot to Buddy Ebsen. How can you get any farther apart than Quiet Riot and Jed Clampett. Everbody loved him…count me in. And to add a final story. He introduced me to Eddie Van Halen. Several years later I ran into Eddie and mntioned how we met. He remembered me and said that he wondered who I was. But, he figured if Les Paul knew me he should too.

  • Jorge Castellon

    Les Paul is the Legend that inspired me to be all i can be.

  • mike

    “Les Paul – Chasing Sound” is an excellent tribute to an amazing musician. Les Paul and Mary Ford deserve the highest praise for their musical and innovative accomplishments. It’s “feel good” music. Their pure and true sound are their legacy. Please run this program again. Thank you PBS for your great programming!
    Mike McCloskey

  • bobbbbby

    les paul rocks!!!!!!!!!!!! go pauly

  • dennis

    …watching – Les Paul on American Masters PBS. What a history of music, guitars, and electronics. What a life and gift to the World. A must see program for all musicians and artists.
    I was fortunate enough to see Les at the Iridium Club in New York summer of 2008. What an evening of entertainment. His finger work on the guitar wss amazing even at 92 with a flowing light touch producing sounds of another era though still in vogue today with an audience of all ages. His name and sound will live on through all the people he influenced.

    – Oregon -d

  • Thom B

    My dream has been shattered. Always wanted to see Les Paul in New York @ the Iridium. Guess I’ll have to wait to see him and Mary in the next world.
    RIP !!!
    A Fan

  • Zoe C

    Les Paul fans, please come and view our tribute to him on
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtA2tbGlhUU
    We admired and are thankful to him for all his many talents,
    Fans, Zoe & Kenny (McKenZie)

  • Les C

    Les Paul has always been an inspiration for me. Not only his technical genius and inventive mind, but his playing into his 90’s shows just how remarkable every once in awhile someone comes along to break the records of human achievement. I grew up in the seventies listening to Jimmy Page, Lynyrd Skynyrd, BB King, Keith Richards and of course Steve Miller, his godson. Many guitarists that were founded through Les Paul and although rock was my youth, I have leaned more towards Les Pauls’ early jazz and country methods lately. Long live Les Paul!

  • JD

    Les was one of the best …the Guitar and music are main things that drove him most his life… And put all he had into it , and yes it did pay off… Thank You Mr Paul for all the good times…

  • Lane Bray

    I worked in Milwaukee, WI in the summer of 1949 as a young pre college student in a tannery. A coworker and his girl friend asked if I wanted to hear Les Paul’ and Mary Ford in Waukesha, Wisconsin… in the Club 400 Tavern. We sat through an evening of great musical memory. I remember that I did not drink so I consumed 5-6 Cokes. During the performance it began to rain buckets with the front door open. I will never forget the sounds and joy of that evening.

  • wedding photographer

    I still remember I had to save up money and buy my 1st les paul when I was young. It’s the best.

  • Patrick Bohmfalk

    Dear Mr. Paul,
    How’s it going up there? I’m Fourteen, so I don’t have any reminiscing to do with your music. But I just wanted to say that your music has changed the way I look at things. If you can read this, I’m doing my 8th grade Research project on you and how you are the most influential person ever. I stand by my choice. You are the most influential person in the music world, and you always will be to me.
    I’m sorry I never got to meet you.
    Hope to see you eventually!

    Patrick B

  • Keefster

    Awesome article. I am looking to buy a les paul soon. Might be one of the cheaper ones mind. I didnot know all of this though! Thanks

  • Freddy Goni

    Mr. Les Paul , I am Freddy Goni from Indonesia I ve herd your music guitar from my father and my uncle and I proud for your playing , I learn a several of your music (I am a guitarist too) . In 1963 I play guitar in my band but now I only to remind because I was 64 years old now. I don’t get a news that you have died ini 2009. Ok may be we can find each others and play music together in the new world later.

  • London Hair Extensions

    Les Paul continues to inspire. I found my step Dad’s collection in the garage when we had a clear out and have to say he is the most inspiring guitarists I have heard, and his music will continue to influence the great guitarists of today. Had no idea les Paul had died

  • g from plumbers in hull

    les paul is a genius, i have several les paul guitars, there sound and feel is totally unique and beautiful.

    god rest his sole, i bet he is up there jamming with hendrix

    great article

    gest
    gary g

  • morgan s

    i am doing my national history day project on the electric guitar. one part of my project is a profile on les paul. he is extremely influential. luv it!!! <3<3

  • carlton

    cann sommeone please pleas please identify that guitar he is playing please please i must know the exact model please

  • Keith Kalish

    I was lucky to see him twice perform at the Iridium Jazz club in Manhattan

  • Doris Leister

    I just read all about Les and I am blown away.I listened to Les Paul and Mary Ford on the radio in the 1950’s and 60’s and my mother said we are connected some way. Only recently have I been able to make the connection – through the web page “Proft Geneology”. Les is my 2nd cousin twice removed according to the Broderbund family tree maker program. What a genius he was. I can’t wait to visit the Waukesha museum the next time we go back to Wisconsin. My home state, by the way.

  • Tristan Jure

    Hahaha maybe that’s how you hit that big PR!

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