Les Paul, R.I.P.

Aug 13th, 2009 // 4 Comments

Guitarist and inventor Les Paul passed away today at a hospital in White Plains, N.Y., after a bout of severe pneumonia. Paul’s name is synonymous with one of the most well-known and beloved models of electric guitar in the world, and he was a pioneer in the art of multi-track recording; the official site of Gibson Guitars has an exhaustive look at the Wisconsin native and his legacy—from his earliest experiments with studio wizardry to his collaborations with his eventual wife Mary Ford to his residency at the New York jazz club Iridium—and it’s well worth reading, if only to realize just how much of current popular music would look very different without Paul’s input and innovation. A few clips from his career after the jump.

Les Paul, “Lover”

Les Paul & Mary Ford, “World Is Waiting For The Sunrise” (from The Les Paul & Mary Ford Show)

Les Paul & Mary Ford, “How High The Moon” (with a little discussion of multi-track recording beforehand)

“Tennessee Waltz” (live at the Iridium, July 2008)

Paul was 94.

The World Has Lost a Remarkable Innovator and Musician: Les Paul Passes Away at 94 [Gibson]
Les Paul [Salon]


  1. Genius does not even begin to describe this man or what he means to popular music, and is something most music fans will never truly know without researching him.

  2. The Tribute Concert for him better be massive.

  3. @anibundel: It will be massive and boring. Unless you’re very excited about the prospect of Joe Perry and Slash jamming next to each other.
    I’d like to see a bit more coverage of his non-guitar innovations. Maybe a tribute concert headlined by Steve Reich?

  4. This man is a very important contributor to all of the music we enjoy today. I once read that Les Paul is to music what the pencil is to writing.

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