Les Paul, June 19 1915 - August 13 2009

Les Paul

AUGUST 14, 2009

Legendary guitarist Les Paul (born Lester William Polfuss) passed away in White Plains, New York at the age of 94.

One of the most important figures in the development of the electric guitar and studio recording techniques. Les Paul worked as a professional musician from his late teens, and was leading his own trio in New York City by the age of 21. After serving with Armed Forces Radio in World War Two, he became a staff musician with NBC radio in Los Angeles. His experimentation with guitars became a frenzy in the late 1940s, building the first solid-body electric guitar in 1946 and releasing a six-way overdub, "Lover," which became a hit for Capitol, as did its flip side, "Brazil." Les Paul's sound was like nothing before it: fast, multi-layered, and deep. He married the singer Mary Ford (born Colleen Somerset) in 1949, and together they recorded some of the biggest hits of the 1950s: "How High the Moon," "Vaya con Dios," "The World is Waiting for the Sunrise," and "Mockin' Bird Hill."

The Gibson Les Paul guitar, as the story goes, was invented by Les Paul and endorsed by Gibson in 1952.