Les Paul, guitarist
birth name: Lester William Polsfuss

Les Paul

June 9, 1915, Waukesha, WI ~ August 13, 2009, White Plains, NY

It's a curious quirk of history that the guitar that has borne Les Paul's name since 1952 is the creation he is most famous for. Because amongst this visionary's many innovations, the Gibson Les Paul guitar is both the least radical and the one in which he had the least direct involvement. The reality of Les Paul's impact on 20th century music is that he more or less single-handedly created the very notion of the studio production, as distinct from simply recording a live performance, creating multi-track effects-drenched sonic oddities as far back as 1948. ~ The Quietus: Les Paul ~ August 18, 2009 © The Quietus

Virtuoso guitarist and inventor whose solid-body electric guitar and recording studio innovations changed the course of 20th-century popular music. ~ New York Times: Les Paul Obituary ~ August 13, 2009 © New York Times

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June 9, 2013 ~ UK Top 100 ~ #3 (3) Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams Get Lucky ~ #2 (2) Naughty Boy featuring Sam Smith, La La La ~ #1 (1) Robin Thicke, T.I. & Pharrell, Blurred Lines


Best-known today for the electric guitar that bears his name, Paul was a major star in his own right in the 1940s and '50s - hosting radio shows and scoring numerous hits with his wife at the time, Mary Ford. He was also a pioneer of the electric guitar and multitrack recording. But Les Paul was first and foremost a musician. His understanding of music - and especially the guitar - enabled him to dream about electrifying his instrument and recording it in layers. But he could play. “It's like a butterfly,” said Jeff Beck. “Just lightning speed, but accurate and musical.” ~ NPR Music: Les Paul Obituary ~ August 13, 2009 © NPR

Les Paul ~ Ranked Fricke's Picks: #46 Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Guitarists in 2003 ~ A guitar inventor as well as a player. He was tinkering with electronics at age twelve and built his first guitar pickup from ham-radio parts in 1934. By 1941 - after a career as a hillbilly star under the names Hot Rod Red and Rhubarb Red - he had built the first solid-body electric guitar prototype. In 1952, Gibson began selling the Les Paul model, now a rock & roll standard. ~ 2003 © Rolling Stone

Les Paul & Mary Ford ~ How High The Moon (Hamilton/Lewis) ~ Named one of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock & Roll in 1995.

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