Les Paul 1915-2009

Today we lost a legend in the music world. When I say ‘legend’ I mean someone that without a doubt has influenced the music 99% of you listen to on daily basis. He was the Leonardo DaVinci of Music.

Les Paul died today of complications from pneumonia at White Plains Hospital in NY. I guess that’s what happens when you’re 94 years old! Way to live it out Les. So maybe you’re sitting there thinking “Who is Les Paul? I thought that was a type of guitar.” If I were sitting next to you and I would first slap you, but then I’d explain.


Les Paul was the man that INVENTED the electric guitar. Yes friends up until a day ago the man that first amplified a guitar was still alive. Not only that he invented overdubbing, delay and phasing effects, and amazingly multitrack recording. If you know anything about music you understand how huge this is.


The electric guitar is really the instrument that kicked off the 50’s Rock n’ Roll era. One could say without Les Paul there would be no Rock and/or Roll. No Elvis, no Hendrix, no Edward Van Halen, no Slash, no John Petrucci and of course no Micah. How do you think it is that so many women have always surrounded me? Electric guitar. Who do I have to thank for that? Ol’ Les.


Les Paul’s inventions didn’t take off at first, being an innovator that is often the case. In addition to being an inventor Les was also a damn good guitar player, I suppose you’d have to be if you’re the first guy to discover something. Things weren’t always easy as his right arm was crushed in a near-fatal car accident in 1948. His elbow was crushed and the doctors were unable to rebuild it so the had to pin it in one position. He instructed the to set it at an angle that would allow him to cradle the guitar. Even after a year and a half recovery Les pressed on and continued to make music.


Up until last year Les Paul was still performing near his hometown. If I live that long I hope to be able to still play the guitar. I find it interesting that Chet Atkins was the same way; playing the instrument he loved up until the very end. Probably kept both of them young! I think it says something to keep doing the things you love throughout your life..never stop.


Anyways I am sad. Especially as I sit here listening to his music. I tell myself I can’t be too sad because the man really did live a full life. I feel fortunate to have lived at the same time that such a remarkable man lived. I think I will go plug my guitar in and play a little tune for Les, tonight this one’s for you Mr. Paul. Thank you for all that you have brought to this lifetime. May you truly rest in peace.


For the rest of my friends here are a couple videos for you and a song from The Les Paul Trio.


His Official Website



Listen to his trio play Lazy River, complete with record crackles.


  1. mego said,

    August 14, 2009 @ 9:56 am

    great article, bro! yes, between you and john, you’ll be playing the guitar from now, to the great clouds in the sky ;).

  2. Amy said,

    August 14, 2009 @ 11:28 am

    Did you see the documentary they made about his life for PBS?? It was awesome! I think it was an American Masters or something like that. He had a really amazing love story with his wife too. All around amazing guy!

  3. Anthony said,

    September 2, 2009 @ 5:19 am

    Right on dude. I am still shocked that he is gone. €his legend of a man will
    never be forgotten by me either.
    Cheers… :)

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