Les Paul (June 9, 1915 – August 13, 2009)

lespaul-697s1Sometimes we need to take a step back and reflect on how a stranger changed our lifes. I have never meet Les Paul or owned a real Les Paul guitar. I have played a ton of them. Some good and some bad. I remember my first Les Paul copy when I was 14 years old. I worked all summer to save up for that guitar. It was Cherry Sunburst just like Tom Scholz from the band Boston’s real Les Paul.

When I first saw it on the wall of the music store my heart sunk. It was like looking at a beautiful woman and suddenly falling in love. I do play a “Les Paul” of sorts still today. My Gibson SG.

The SG was originally named the Les Paul SG. Some said Les Paul had his name taken off of the guitar because he felt the craftsmanship wasn’t up to par. Others know he took his name of all Gibson guitars because he was divorcing Mary Ford and didn’t want to share the Gibson loot.

It doesn’t matter which version you believe what is important is the man changed the way we listen to music. Les invented multi-track recording. Without him there would be no The Beatles Sargent Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band or The Beach Boys Pet Sounds.

Les Paul also invented the tape echo which later evolved into the Echoplex. Next time you listen to Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love not only are you hearing Jimmy Page ripping on Les Paul’s signature guitar you are also hearing Les’ tape delay.

The list goes on and on of the musicians that used Les’ instruments and innovations. Page, Frehley, Hendrix, Beck and Slash to name a few. The fruit of that tree is a generation of musicians that have been influenced by the latter. Including this random unknown one. Les thank you and sleep well.