He passed away yesterday at the age of 94. This is one of those few times in recent memory where I find myself actually emotionally affected by a celebrity’s death. I’m actually a bit sad. You probably already have heard the highlights of his life and career: inventor of the solid body electric guitar, inventor of multi-track recording, over-dubbing, various delays, and phasing, virtuoso guitarist and composer, and top 40 recording artist from the 1940s – 1960s.
I’ve been playing electric guitar for 20 years and for a few years before that as a kid I wanted to learn how to play…simply because the electric guitar was so damn cool. As a musician I feel immense gratitude to the man who really made the guitar become a “hero” of instruments..no longer relegated to the background but really becoming the lead instrument. Without him modern music simply wouldn’t exist.
Some friends and I had this plan to fly out to New York City for a day just to see Les Paul play at the Irridium jazz club to catch his weekly gig. Now I really feel bad for not making it happen.
Anyway, my guitars and amp seem a bit more precious this morning. We lost a friend, a hero, a teacher and a great explorer. I’ve heard and read various accounts saying that the man was also a genuine nice guy. If you play guitar strum a little over the weekend. I will be.
RIP Les Paul…. you will be missed.