Remembering Les Paul

(Gibson) On this day in 2009, Les Paul, the Wizard of Waukesha, passed away at the age of 94. In addition to being an innovative guitarist and beloved entertainer (along with his wife, Mary Ford), Paul was a trailblazing inventor whose accomplishments include pioneering developments in multitrack recording and the solid-body electric guitar. To this day, Gibson proudly honors Les Paul with the guitar that bears his name. Gibson takes a look back:

Les Paul was a tinkerer. The Wizard of Waukesha's hands were always busy and his mind was, too. Busy with ideas, busy with inventions, busy with improvements. And Les Paul's hands and mind stayed in near-constant motion from the day he was given his first harmonica until his final Monday night performance at New York's Iridium Jazz Club in June of 2009, before dying from complications related to pneumonia on this day in '09.

Jazz players, rock players, blues players, pop players and musicians of any genre all revere the man and his work. It's astounding, and at the same time, it makes perfect sense. After all, this is the guy who invented the Les Paul guitar.

Born Lester William Polsfuss in 1915, Les became enamored with music at an early age. As a teenager, he began performing as a country-western musician, and then dropped out of high school to join a radio band in St. Louis. He spent his early 20s in Chicago, dividing his time between hillbilly music, blues and jazz, and became an accomplished player via Django Reinhardt's influence. He adopted the stage name of Les Paul and released his first records. more on this story

Gibson.com is an official news provider for the Day in Rock.

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