Les Paul
American jazz guitarist, country guitarist, songwriter and inventor
Les Paul
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.
Les Paul's personal information overview.
Photo Albums
Popular photos of Les Paul
View family, career and love interests for Les Paul
Show More Show Less
News abour Les Paul from around the web
ARTS, BRIEFLY; Gibson Guitar Maker Raided by Federal Agents
NYTimes - over 5 years
Tracing what they say is an illegal shipment of Indian hardwood, federal agents raided offices and factories belonging to Gibson Guitar Corporation last week for the second time in two years, seizing documents, computer hard drives, pallets of wood, guitars and tools. Henry E. Juszkiewicz, Gibson's chief executive and part-owner, accused the
Article Link:
NYTimes article
CALENDAR; Events in New Jersey
NYTimes - over 5 years
A guide to cultural and recreational events in New Jersey. Items for the calendar should be sent at least three weeks in advance to njtowns@nytimes.com . Comedy HASBROUCK HEIGHTS Bananas Comedy Club Dan Wilson. Aug. 19 at 9 p.m. and Aug. 20 at 8 and 10:30 p.m. $15. Rich Ramirez. Aug. 26 and 27. $15. Bananas Comedy Club, 283 Route 17 South. (201)
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Life in the Swarm
NYTimes - over 5 years
DEVOTIONS By Bruce Smith 88 pp. The University of Chicago Press. Paper, $18. Bruce Smith's new poems move fast and travel far, from Newtonian physics to the ''fiery . . . riderless horse'' of Christian apocalypse, ''from the jet engine / as it gins the clouds'' to ''the hand-iron press and the sewing machine.'' Most of those poems, though, begin in
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Gibson Rocks NASCAR on Speed Television - Gibson
Google News - over 5 years
Four winners get a Gibson Custom Les Paul designed by Sam Bass as their winner's circle trophy. Last weekend, Carl Edwards won the big race. Speed Television looked into how the Gibson trophies are made for the races and how much the racers appreciate
Article Link:
Google News article
Dillon closes out big weekend with strong finish - Nascar
Google News - over 5 years
Austin Dillon was so fired up about winning a Sam Bass custom-painted Gibson Les Paul guitar Friday night that he came back in hot pursuit of another one Saturday. Dillon fell a little short in Saturday's Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville
Article Link:
Google News article
NASCAR Nationwide Series: Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville - Race Results - Auto Racing Daily
Google News - over 5 years
NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader Carl Edwards added to his Les Paul Gibson guitar collection at Nashville Superspeedway, dominating the Nationwide Series Federated Auto Parts 300. The win was his sixth at Nashville, five of which have come in NASCAR's
Article Link:
Google News article
Hot Rod Inspires Les Paul Guitar - Cincinnati.com (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Hamilton businessman Scott Whitaker will be on “Hot Rod TV” Saturday (3 pm on Speed channel) in an episode all about Gibson Guitar's Gibson Custom shop in Nashville making a replica Les Paul guitar inspired by Whitaker's replica 1932 Ford coupe
Article Link:
Google News article
MUSIC REVIEW; The Truths That Only Repetition Reveals
NYTimes - over 5 years
There was Mike Scheidt, the guitarist and singer from the doom-metal trio Yob, at Le Poisson Rouge on Tuesday night. He was playing a pattern, long-form and superficially simple. Doom tends to stay slow and precise; he cycled a few chords, or sometimes only one, over and over. With some doom bands there can be a kind of numb glory in pure,
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Summer Jazzfest: The Les Paul Trio - Patch.com
Google News - over 5 years
The Les Paul Trio plays the first night of Summer Jazzfest at the Two River Theater. By Steve Rogers | Email the author | July 10, 2011 "Somewhere There's Music" concert footage shot by Roberto Muolo. When Les Paul died in 2009 at the age of 94,
Article Link:
Google News article
Rare Gibson Les Paul Goldtop guitar up for auction - BBC News
Google News - over 5 years
The Gibson Les Paul Goldtop is believed to have been used by rockabilly musician Carl Perkins when he recorded his hit Blue Suede Shoes. Jonathan Humbert, from JP Humbert Auctioneers, believes it could be worth up to £50000. He initially thought it was
Article Link:
Google News article
Mary Ford, the Voice Behind Les Paul - Legacy.com
Google News - over 5 years
Mary Ford became famous for her groundbreaking duets with musician and inventor Les Paul. On what would have been her 87th birthday, we look back at her life and singing career. Born Iris Colleen Summers to a musical family headed by a Nazarene revival
Article Link:
Google News article
New Online Services Offer Hope to Music Fans
NYTimes - over 5 years
I’M ready for the cloud. Soon, I hope, it will be ready for me. Recent weeks have been filled with announcements about music taking residence in the cloud, the poetic name for online storage and software that promises to make lifetimes worth of songs available to anyone, anywhere, as long as those people and places have Internet connections.
Article Link:
NYTimes article
THE LES PAUL - Mission Valley News
Google News - over 5 years
(Mission Valley News, San Diego, CA) – Guitarists like Jimmy Page, Joe Perry, and Slash have made names for themselves by playing the Les Paul guitar. This guitar which is known for it's rich tones and sustain, is almost twice as heavy as a regular
Article Link:
Google News article
Google's Les Paul Doodle Was A Productivity Killer - WebProNews
Google News - over 5 years
Too bad these folks didn't write for an Internet news company, because then, their time on the Les Paul Google Doodle could be viewed as research… What we have here is, apparently, the Google Doodle that celebrated guitar legend Les Paul's birthday ... - -
Article Link:
Google News article
Pete Townshend's Quadrophenia Les Paul Fetches A Big Price - antiMUSIC.com
Google News - over 5 years
(Gibson) A Gibson Les Paul Deluxe Goldtop once owned by The Who's Pete Townshend has raised $50000 at a music auction in London. It was played by Townshend during the US leg of the band's Quadrophenia tour of 1973 and 1974. A circa 1972/73 Gibson Les
Article Link:
Google News article
Rusty Paul: The Les Paul Interview Part II - Guitar International
Google News - over 5 years
In this Part II of our three-part interview with Rusty Paul, son of the legendary Les Paul, Rusty gives us a glimpse into Les Paul's relationships with some of the most beloved guitarists and musicians in the music world, including Jeff Beck,
Article Link:
Google News article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Les Paul
  • 2009
    On August 21, 2009, he was buried near Milwaukee in Waukesha, Wisconsin at Prairie Home Cemetery.
    More Details Hide Details Paul is buried next to his mother. The two are surrounded with a brief biography of Les. A stream of visitors from around the world visit the memorial. Like his funeral in New York on August 19, the burial was private, but earlier in the day a public memorial viewing of the closed casket was held in Milwaukee at Discovery World with 1,500 attendees who were offered free admission to the Les Paul House of Sound exhibit for the day. Guitarist Jeff Beck organized a tribute concert at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City, which took place almost a year after Les Paul's death, on what would have been his 95th Birthday - on 9 June 2010. It later turned into an album, Rock'n'Roll Party (Honoring Les Paul). Paul was also a prolific composer. Some of the songs he wrote were "Song in Blue", "Cryin'", "Hip-billy Boogie", "Suspicion", "Mandolino", "Magic Melody", "Don'cha Hear Them Bells", "The Kangaroo", "Big-Eyed Gal", "All I Need is You", "Take a Warning", "Mammy's Boogie", "Up And At 'Em", "Pacific Breeze", "Mountain Railroad", "Move Along, Baby (Don't Waste My Time)", "Dry My Tears", "Deep in the Blues", "I Don't Want You No More", "Doing the Town", "Les' Blues", "No Strings Attached", "Subterfuge", "Lament For Strings", "Five Alarm Fire", "You Can't Be Fit as a Fiddle (When You're Tight as a Drum)", and "Walkin' and Whistlin' Blues".
    On August 12, 2009, Paul died of complications from pneumonia at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York.
    More Details Hide Details His family and friends were by his side. Paul is survived by his four children and his companion Arlene Palmer. His manager told the media that Paul had several hospital stays over the previous few months. Paul's last concert took place a few weeks before his death. Upon learning of his death many artists and popular musicians paid tribute by publicly expressing their sorrow. After learning of Paul's death, former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash called him "vibrant and full of positive energy.", while Richie Sambora, lead guitarist of Bon Jovi, referred to him as "revolutionary in the music business". U2 guitarist The Edge said, "His legacy as a musician and inventor will live on and his influence on rock and roll will never be forgotten."
    In August 2009, Paul was named One of the Top Ten Best Electric Guitar Players of All Time by Time magazine.
    More Details Hide Details That same year, William Paterson University's Brave New Radio Station bestowed its Bravery in Radio Award on Paul. On June 9, 2010, which would have been Les Paul's 95th birthday, a tribute concert featuring Jeff Beck, Imelda May, Gary U.S. Bonds and Brian Setzer among others, was held at the Iridium Jazz Club where Les Paul played every Monday almost to the end of his life. The concert was released on the live album Rock 'n' Roll Party (Honoring Les Paul) in 2011. In 2010, Paul was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame. Also in 2010, Paul received an Honorary New York Emmy, was inducted into the Music Producers Guild for Innovation in Production and received the Joe Meek Award for Innovation in Production from the Music Producers Guild of the United Kingdom. On June 9–10, 2011 Google celebrated what would have been Paul's 96th birthday with a Google doodle of an interactive guitar.
    In April 2009, Gerbren Deves did an extensive interview with him, which was published in the English Guitar Magazine just after his death.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2008
    On November 15, 2008, he received the American Music Masters award through the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at a tribute concert at the State Theater in Cleveland, Ohio.
    More Details Hide Details Among the many guest performers were Duane Eddy, Eric Carmen, Lonnie Mack, Jennifer Batten, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, Dennis Coffey, James Burton, Billy Gibbons, Lenny Kaye, Steve Lukather, Barbara Lynn, Katy Moffatt, Alannah Myles, Richie Sambora, The Ventures and Slash.
    In June 2008, an exhibit showcasing his legacy and featuring items from his personal collection opened at Discovery World in Milwaukee.
    More Details Hide Details The exhibit was facilitated by a group of local musicians under the name Partnership for the Arts and Creative Excellence (PACE). Paul played a concert in Milwaukee to coincide with the opening of the exhibit. Paul's hometown of Waukesha, Wisconsin, opened a permanent exhibit titled "The Les Paul Experience" at the Waukesha County Museum in June 2013. The exhibit features artifacts on loan from the Les Paul Foundation. A self-guided tour of Les Paul's Waukesha was created by the Les Paul Foundation.
  • 2007
    A biographical, feature-length documentary titled Les Paul Chasing Sound made its world première on May 9, 2007, at the Downer Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
    More Details Hide Details Paul appeared at the event and spoke briefly to the enthusiastic crowd. The film is distributed by Koch Entertainment and was broadcast on PBS on July 11, 2007, as part of its American Masters series and was broadcast on October 17, 2008, on BBC Four as part of its Guitar Night. The première coincided with the final part of a three-part documentary by the BBC broadcast on BBC One The Story of the Guitar.
    In 2007, he received the National Medal of Arts from U.S. President George W. Bush.
    More Details Hide Details A one-hour biographical documentary film The Wizard of Waukesha was shown at the Los Angeles International Film Exposition (FILMEX) March 4–21, 1980, and later on PBS television.
  • 2006
    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.
    More Details Hide Details He also performed every Monday night, accompanied by a trio which included guitarist Lou Pallo, bassist Paul Nowinski (and later, Nicki Parrott) and guitarist Frank Vignola and for a few years, pianist John Colaianni. Originally Paul, Pallo and Nowinski performed at Fat Tuesdays, and later at the Iridium Jazz Club on Broadway in the Times Square area of New York City. Les and his trio held court at the Iridium Jazz Club for many years, playing two sets every Monday night. During the last years of his life, Paul's setlists consisted mostly of 1930s-40s jazz standards and he largely ignored his hits from the '50s. Often, a wide array of other artists would appear and sit in with or sing in front of the trio and he enjoyed regaling fans, many of whom were not alive for his '50s hits, with stories of playing with celebrities in his youth. A tribute trio still plays the Monday dates.
  • 2005
    In July 2005, a 90th-birthday tribute concert was held at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
    More Details Hide Details After performances by Steve Miller, Peter Frampton, Jose Feliciano and a number of other contemporary guitarists and vocalists, Paul was presented with a commemorative guitar from the Gibson Guitar Corporation.
    In 2005, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his development of the solid-body electric guitar.
    More Details Hide Details He was named an honorary member of the Audio Engineering Society in 1958.
    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."
    More Details Hide Details That same year Paul was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
  • 2004
    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.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1996
    In 1996, the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame inducted Paul.
    More Details Hide Details That same year Paul received the James Smithsonia Bicentennial Medal.
  • 1990
    In 1990, Paul was inducted into the Big Band Hall of Fame and the Jazz Hall of Fame.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1988
    In 1988, Paul was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Jeff Beck, who said, "I've copied more licks from Les Paul than I'd like to admit."
    More Details Hide Details That same year, the Mix Foundation, now known as the TEC Foundation, inducted Paul into the TEC Hall of Fame. In 1991, the foundation established its annual Les Paul Award which honors "individuals or institutions that have set the highest standards of excellence in the creative application of audio technology". The award, now known as the Les Paul TEC Award, is presented annually at the NAMM Show
  • 1985
    In 1985, Paul was inducted into the Hollywood Rock Wall.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1983
    Paul received a Grammy Trustees Award for his lifetime achievements in 1983, and in 2001 Paul was honored with the Special Merit/Technical Grammy Award, which recognizes "individuals or institutions that have set the highest standards of excellence in the creative application of audio technology," a select award given to masters of audio innovation including Thomas Alva Edison, Leo Fender, and Beatles recording engineer Geoff Emerick.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1979
    In 1979, Paul and Ford's 1951 recording of "How High the Moon" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1976
    Les Paul has been acknowledged by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (aka The Recording Academy and NARAS) with various Grammy Awards. In 1976, Paul and Chet Atkins received a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1973
    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."
    More Details Hide Details Garrett, Charles, ed. “Paul Les Lester Williams” The Grove Dictionary of American Music 2nd edition. Oxford University Press Inc. 2006. Print.
  • 1966
    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.
    More Details Hide Details At Paul's request, Gibson renamed the guitar "Gibson SG," which stands for "Solid Guitar," and it also became one of the company's best sellers. The original Gibson Les Paul design regained popularity when Eric Clapton began playing the instrument a few years later, although he also played an SG and an ES-335. Paul resumed his relationship with Gibson and endorsed the original Gibson Les Paul guitar from that point onwards. His personal Gibson Les Pauls were much modified by him: Paul always used his own self-wound pickups and customized methods of switching between pickups on his guitars. To this day, various models of Gibson Les Paul guitars are used all over the world by both novice and professional guitarists. A less-expensive version of the Les Paul guitar is manufactured for Gibson's Epiphone brand. Paul continued to seek technical improvements, although they were not always successful commercially. For example, in 1962 Paul was issued US Patent No. 3,018,680, for a pickup in which the coil was physically attached to the strings. One of Paul's innovations became somewhat successful; unfortunately, it was not to his benefit. In the mid-1940s, he introduced an aluminum guitar with the tuning mechanisms below the bridge. As it had no headstock, only string attachments at the nut, it was the first "headless" guitar. Unfortunately, Paul's guitar was so sensitive to the heat from stage lights that it would not keep tune.
  • 1964
    Les Paul and Mary Ford were divorced in December 1964.
    More Details Hide Details
    He and Ford had divorced at the end of 1964 after she got tired of touring.
    More Details Hide Details Paul's most recognizable recordings from then through the mid-1970s were an album for London Records/Phase 4 Stereo, Les Paul Now (1968), on which he updated some of his earlier hits; and, backed by some of Nashville's celebrated studio musicians, a meld of jazz and country improvisation with fellow guitar virtuoso Chet Atkins, Chester and Lester (1976), for RCA Victor. In part because of the lingering effects of his 1948 car accident, Paul began suffering from arthritis in the mid-1960s. As he got older, the condition worsened and in his final years, he virtually lost the use of his right hand except the ring and pinky fingers. He also suffered from progressive hearing loss starting in 1969 after a prank a friend played on him blew out his eardrums and caused an inner ear infection that required surgery. In addition, Paul had difficulty tuning guitars properly due to his ears "misinterpreting" pitch. Frustrated with the quality of most hearing aids, he set to work designing his own custom unit (and was still at the job when he died). He once joked that "Audio engineers and musicians are the two kinds of people that hearing aid manufacturers fear the most."
  • 1960
    In 1960, Paul and wife Mary Ford received a star on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1953
    Paul's guitar style was strongly influenced by the music of Django Reinhardt, whom he greatly admired. Following World War II, Paul sought out and made friends with Reinhardt. After Reinhardt died in 1953, Paul partly paid for the cost of the funeral.
    More Details Hide Details One of Paul's prize possessions was a Selmer Maccaferri acoustic guitar given to him by Reinhardt's widow.
  • 1952
    Paul was initiated into the Gamma Delta chapter of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity at the University of Miami in 1952.
    More Details Hide Details He has earned the Presidential award from the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.
  • 1950
    Paul had hosted a 15-minute radio program, The Les Paul Show, on NBC Radio in 1950, featuring his trio (himself, Ford and rhythm player Eddie Stapleton) and his electronics, recorded from their home and with gentle humor between Paul and Ford bridging musical selections, some of which had already been successful on records, some of which anticipated the couple's recordings, and many of which presented re-interpretations of such jazz and pop selections as "In the Mood", "Little Rock Getaway", "Brazil", and "Tiger Rag".
    More Details Hide Details Over ten of these shows survive among old-time radio collectors today. The show also appeared on television a few years later with the same format, but excluding the trio and retitled The Les Paul & Mary Ford Show (also known as Les Paul & Mary Ford at Home) with "Vaya Con Dios" as the theme song. Sponsored by Warner Lambert's Listerine mouthwash, it was aired on NBC television during 1954–1955, and then syndicated until 1960. The show aired five times a day, five days a week for only five minutes (one or two songs) long, and therefore was used as a brief interlude or fill-in in programming schedules. Since Paul created the entire show himself, including audio and video, he maintained the original recordings and was in the process of restoring them to current quality standards until his death. During his radio shows, Paul introduced the fictional "" device, which multiplies anything fed into it, such as a guitar sound or a voice. It was Paul's way of explaining how his single guitar could be multiplied to become a group of guitars. The device even became the subject of comedy, with Ford multiplying herself and her vacuum cleaner with it so she could finish the housework faster. Later, Paul created a real Les Paulverizer that he attached to his guitar. The invention allowed Paul to access pre-recorded layers of songs during live performances so he could replicate his recorded sound on stage.
  • 1949
    Paul was the instructor of rock guitarist Steve Miller of the Steve Miller Band, to whom Paul gave his first guitar lesson. Miller's parents were best man and matron of honor at Paul's 1949 wedding to Mary Ford.
    More Details Hide Details Paul resided for many years in Mahwah, New Jersey. In 1995 Paul established the Les Paul Foundation, which was designed to remain dormant until his death. The mission of the Foundation is to honor and share the life, spirit and legacy of Les Paul by supporting music education, engineering and innovation as well as medical research.
    In 1949, Les Paul was given one of the first Ampex Model 200A reel-to-reel audio tape recording decks by Crosby.
    More Details Hide Details Capitol Records released a recording that had begun as an experiment in Paul's garage, entitled "Lover (When You're Near Me)", which featured Paul playing eight different parts on electric guitar, some of them recorded at half-speed, hence "double-fast" when played back at normal speed for the master. ("Brazil", similarly recorded, was the B-side.) This was the first time that Paul used multitracking in a recording, though he had been shopping his multitracking technique, unsuccessfully, since the 1930s. Paul's early multitrack recordings were made with acetate discs. Paul would record a track onto a disk, then record himself playing another part with the first. He built the multitrack recording with overlaid tracks, rather than parallel ones as he did later. By the time he had a result he was satisfied with, he had discarded some five hundred recording disks.
  • 1948
    They began working together in 1948, during which time she adopted the stage name Mary Ford and married in 1949.
    More Details Hide Details Their hits included "How High the Moon", "Bye Bye Blues", "Song in Blue", "Don'cha Hear Them Bells", "The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise", and "Vaya con Dios". The songs featured Ford harmonizing with herself, as well as Les Paul's multiple guitars. After 1954, rock-and-roll drove most artists of Paul's generation from the charts and the duo's hits dried up. Like Crosby, Paul and Ford used the now-ubiquitous recording technique known as close miking, where the microphone is less than from the singer's mouth. This produces a more-intimate, less-reverberant sound than is heard when a singer is or more from the microphone. When implemented using a pressure-gradient (uni- or bi-directional) microphone, it emphasizes low-frequency sounds in the voice due to the microphone's proximity effect and gives a more relaxed feel because the performer is not working as hard. The result is a singing style which diverged strongly from the unamplified theater-style singing that is heard in the musical comedies of the 1930s-40s.
    Paul A. Bigsby had built one for Merle Travis in 1948 and Leo Fender also independently created his own (the Fender "Esquire," a single pickup model) in 1948.
    More Details Hide Details Although Paul approached the Gibson Guitar Corporation with his idea of a solid body electric guitar in 1941, it showed no interest until Fender began marketing its Esquire; this later had a second pickup added and became known as the Broadcaster. (The Broadcaster was renamed the Telecaster in 1952.) The arrangement persisted until 1961, when declining sales prompted Gibson to change the design without Paul's knowledge, creating a much thinner, lighter and more aggressive-looking instrument with two cutaway "horns" instead of one. Paul said he first saw the "new" Gibson Les Paul in a music-store window, and disliked it. Problems with the strength of the body and neck made Paul dissatisfied with the new guitar.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Mary Ford was driving the Buick convertible, which plunged off the side of a railroad overpass and dropped 20 feet into a ravine; they were on their way back from Wisconsin to Los Angeles after visiting family. Doctors at Oklahoma City's Wesley Presbyterian Hospital told Paul that they could not rebuild his elbow. Their other option was amputation. Paul was flown to Los Angeles, where his arm was set at an angle—just under 90 degrees—that allowed him to cradle and pick the guitar. It took him nearly a year and a half to recover. The Gibson Les Paul, one of the world's most popular electric guitars, was inspired by Paul's "Log". Paul's innovative guitar, "The Log", built after-hours in the Epiphone guitar factory in 1940, a 4" × 4" chunk of pine with strings and a pickup, was one of the first solid-body electric guitars. Paul Tutmarc of Audiovox Manufacturing Co. built a solid body electric bass in 1935 and Adolph Rickenbacker had marketed a solid-body guitar in the 1930s. In 1941 he created a prototype instrument, known as the Log, which he fashioned from a four-foot wooden board.
  • 1946
    Two Decca recordings from 1946 pairing Paul with The Andrews Sisters ("Rumors Are Flying" and "It's a Pity to Say Goodnight") exist today to affirm such comments.
    More Details Hide Details Paul's many hits with his wife Mary Ford recording her vocals in triplicate in the 1950s produced a sound eerily similar to the harmonious blend of The Andrews Sisters. As Les Paul biographer Mary Alice Shaughnessy noted of Paul's association with The Andrews Sisters, "Les welcomed the opportunity to study them in full flight."
    Paul was particularly enamored by the famous Andrews Sisters, who hired The Les Paul Trio as their opening act while they toured in 1946.
    More Details Hide Details Lou Levy, the sisters' manager and a music publishing giant of the big band era and beyond, once said, "Watching his fingers work was like watching a locomotive go." The trio's longtime conductor, Vic Schoen, said of Les, "You could always count on him to come up with something no one else had thought of," while Maxene Andrews once remembered, "It was wonderful having him perform with us. He'd tune into the passages we were singing and lightly play the melody, sometimes in harmony. We'd sing these fancy licks and he'd keep up with us note for note in exactly the same rhythm almost contributing a fourth voice. But he never once took the attention away from what we were doing. He did everything he could to make us sound better."
  • 1944
    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.
    More Details Hide Details The recording, still available as Jazz at the Philharmonic- the first concert- shows Paul at the top of his game, both in his solid four to the bar comping in the style of Freddie Green and for the originality of his solo lines. Paul's solo on 'Blues' is an astonishing tour de force and represents a memorable contest between himself and Nat 'King' Cole. Much later in his career, Paul declared that he had been the victor and that this had been conceded by Cole. His solo on Body and Soul is a fine demonstration both of his admiration for and emulation of the playing of Django Reinhardt, as well as his development of some very original lines. Also that year, Paul's trio appeared on Bing Crosby's radio show. Crosby went on to sponsor Paul's recording experiments. The two recorded together several times, including a 1945 #1 hit, "It's Been a Long, Long Time". Paul's trio recorded a few albums of their own on the Decca label in the late 1940s.
  • 1943
    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.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1941
    While experimenting in his apartment in 1941, Paul nearly succumbed to electrocution.
    More Details Hide Details During two years of recuperation, he relocated to Hollywood, supporting himself by producing radio music and forming a new trio. During this time, he was remembered by factory workers as a frequent visitor to the Electro String Instrument Corp. shop on Western Ave. in Los Angeles, where he observed production of Rickenbacker brand guitars and amplifiers.
  • 1938
    Paul married Virginia Webb in 1938.
    More Details Hide Details They had two children, Lester Jr. (Rusty), born in 1941 (died in 2015), and Gene, who was named after actor-songwriter Gene Lockhart, born in 1944, before divorcing in 1949. Later that year, Paul and Mary Ford (born Iris Colleen Summers) were married. They adopted a girl, Colleen, in 1958 and their son Robert (Bobby) was born the following year. They had also lost a child, who was born prematurely and died only four days old.
  • 1937
    Paul formed a trio in 1937 with singer/rhythm guitarist Jim Atkins (older half-brother of guitarist Chet Atkins) and bassist/percussionist Ernie "Darius" Newton.
    More Details Hide Details They left Chicago for New York in 1938, landing a featured spot with Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians radio show. Chet Atkins later wrote that his brother, home on a family visit, presented him with an expensive Gibson archtop guitar that Les Paul had given to Jim. Chet recalled that it was the first professional-quality instrument he ever owned. Paul was dissatisfied with acoustic-electric guitars and began experimenting at his apartment in Queens, New York with a few designs of his own. Famously, he created several versions of "The Log", which was a length of common 4x4 lumber with a bridge, guitar neck, strings and pickup attached. For the sake of appearance, he attached the body of an Epiphone hollow-body guitar, sawn lengthwise with The Log in the middle. This solved his two main problems: feedback, as the acoustic body no longer resonated with the amplified sound, and sustain, as the energy of the strings was not dissipated in generating sound through the guitar body. These instruments were constantly being improved and modified over the years, and Paul continued to use them in his recordings long after the development of his eponymous Gibson model. In 1945, Richard D. Bourgerie made an electric guitar pickup and amplifier for professional guitar player George Barnes. Bourgerie worked through World War II at Howard Radio Company making electronic equipment for the American military. Barnes showed the result to Les Paul, who then arranged for Bourgerie to have one made for him.
  • 1936
    His first two records were released in 1936, credited to "Rhubarb Red", Paul's hillbilly alter ego, He also served as an accompanist for a few other bands signed to Decca.
    More Details Hide Details During this time he began ever adding different sounds and adopted his stage name of Les Paul.
  • 1934
    Paul moved to Chicago in 1934, where he continued to perform on radio stations WBBM and WLS.
    More Details Hide Details He met pianist Art Tatum, whose playing influenced him to stick with the guitar rather than original plans of taking on the piano.
  • 1915
    Born on June 9, 1915.
    More Details Hide Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
All data offered is derived from public sources. Spokeo does not verify or evaluate each piece of data, and makes no warranties or guarantees about any of the information offered. Spokeo does not possess or have access to secure or private financial information. Spokeo is not a consumer reporting agency and does not offer consumer reports. None of the information offered by Spokeo is to be considered for purposes of determining any entity or person's eligibility for credit, insurance, employment, housing, or for any other purposes covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)