Guitarist & Music Inspiration Les Paul Dies At The Age Of 94
Les Paul, the guitarist and inventor
who changed the course of music with the electric guitar and multi-track recording and had a string of hits, many with wife Mary Ford, died on Thursday, August 13th. The cause was complications of pneumonia, Gibson Guitar announced. He was 94 years old.
Les Paul was a remarkable musician as well as a tireless tinkerer. He played guitar with leading prewar jazz and pop musicians from Louis Armstrong to Bing Crosby. In the 1930s he began experimenting with guitar amplification, and by 1941 he had built what was probably the first solid-body electric guitar, although there are other claimants. With his electric guitar and the vocals of his wife, Mary Ford, he used overdubbing, multi-track recording and new electronic effects to create a string of hits in the 1950s.
Mr. Paul’s style encompassed the twang of country music, the harmonic richness of jazz and, later, the bite of rock ’n’ roll. For all his technological impact, though, he remained a down-home performer whose main goal, he often said, was to make people happy.
Paul is survived by his daughter, Colleen Wess; sons Lester (Rus) G. Paul, Gene W. Paul and Robert (Bobby) R. Paul; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
A private funeral service will be held in New York, with a service in Waukesha to be announced. In lieu of flowers, Paul’s family asks that donations be made to the Les Paul Foundation, 236 W. 30th St., Seventh Floor, New York, N.Y. 10001.