Yesterday, Associated Press reported that Les Paul, guitar legend and inventor of the solid body electric guitar, passed away due to complications from pneumonia.
With loved ones at his side, the world lost an individual that made incalculable contributions to music on both the playing and technological sides of the industry. While he may not be widely name-dropped by those who earn the high praise of the hyperbole-filled blogosphere, legions of aspiring players have an indirect debt to Les Paul. He invented multi-track recording as well as the Gibson electric guitar that bears his name. It’s something seldom to find an artist or band that doesn’t incorporate multi-tracking in some way and, while the Gibson Les Paul’s may not be used by everyone, they one of the most widely used guitars in the business.
With Mary Ford, his wife from 1949 to 1962, he earned 36 gold records for hits including “Vaya Con Dios” and “How High the Moon,” which both hit No. 1. Many of their songs used overdubbing techniques that Paul had helped develop. In the late 1960s, Paul retired from music to concentrate on his inventions. His interest in country music was rekindled in the mid-’70s and he teamed up with Chet Atkins for two albums. The duo were awarded a Grammy for best country instrumental performance of 1976 for their Chester and Lester album.
With a CV in music that could never be covered quickly and concisely, a sentence that is often given to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elvis, Bob Dylan and most recently Michael Jackson is rightfully deserved here: There will never be another Les Paul.