Les Paul

Jazz Guitarist + Country Guitarist + Songwriter and Inventor

Lester William Polsfuss—known as Les Paul—was an American jazz and country guitarist, songwriter and inventor. He was the inventor of the solid-body electric guitar which made the sound of rock and roll possible. He is credited with many recording innovations.… Read More

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News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Les Paul.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Les Paul.


1915 Birth Born on June 9, 1915.


1934 19 Years Old Paul moved to Chicago in 1934, where he continued to perform on radio stations WBBM and WLS. … Read More


1936 - 1938 3 More Events
1941 26 Years Old While experimenting in his apartment in 1941, Paul nearly succumbed to electrocution. … Read More
1943 28 Years Old He was drafted into the US Army in 1943, where he served in the Armed Forces Radio Network, backing such artists as Bing Crosby, The Andrews Sisters, and performing in his own right.
1944 29 Years Old As a last-minute replacement for Oscar Moore, Paul played with Nat King Cole and other artists in the inaugural Jazz at the Philharmonic concert in Los Angeles, California, on July 2, 1944. … Read More


1946 31 Years Old 1 More Event
Paul was particularly enamored by the famous Andrews Sisters, who hired The Les Paul Trio as their opening act while they toured in 1946. … Read More
In January 1948, Paul shattered his right arm and elbow in a near-fatal automobile accident on an icy Route 66 just west of Davenport, Oklahoma. … Read More
1949 34 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1949, Les Paul was given one of the first Ampex Model 200A reel-to-reel audio tape recording decks by Crosby. … Read More


1960 45 Years Old In 1960, Paul and wife Mary Ford received a star on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame.
1964 49 Years Old 1 More Event
…  He and Ford had divorced at the end of 1964 after she got tired of touring. … Read More


1966 51 Years Old This, and a pending divorce from Mary Ford, led to Paul ending his endorsement and use of his name on Gibson guitars until 1966, by which time his divorce was completed. … Read More
1973 58 Years Old The following Les Paul recordings with Mary Ford were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, which is a special Grammy award established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least 25 years old and that have "qualitative or historical significance." … Read More


1976 - 1996 7 More Events
2004 89 Years Old In 2004, Paul received an Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award in Engineering.The Wisconsin Foundation for School Music bestowed its Lifetime Achievement in Music Education on Paul that same year.
In 2005, Paul received two Grammy awards; one for Best Pop Instrumental for his recording of "Caravan" and one for Best Rock Instrumental for "69 Freedom Special." … Read More
2006 91 Years Old Undaunted, he continued to perform through his disabilities while making some compromises such as playing at slower tempos and using an extra-large guitar pick that he could grip more easily. In 2006, at age 90, he won two Grammys at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards for his album Les Paul & Friends: American Made World Played. … Read More
2007 92 Years Old 1 More Event
In 2007, he received the National Medal of Arts from U.S. President George W. Bush. … Read More
2008 93 Years Old 1 More Event
In June 2008, an exhibit showcasing his legacy and featuring items from his personal collection opened at Discovery World in Milwaukee. … Read More
In April 2009, Gerbren Deves did an extensive interview with him, which was published in the English Guitar Magazine just after his death.
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