Thursday, 13 August 2009

RIP Les Paul

The Grandaddy of the electric guitar and co-developer of the finest musical instrument of all time (The legendary Gibson 'Les Paul' model) has passed away at the age of 94. Imagining a musical world without Les paul is impossible. Not only was he the first person to seriously develop the solidbody electrical guitars that now dominate the industry, he was also the first person to develop multi-track recording. And without him, there'd be less of this :-

And that would have been a tragedy. I'll play a song on mine for you tonight, Les. Good thing this Marshall goes to 11, you may still hear it!


  1. Agree, he was a great originator.

    I like the late Paul Burliston's work. An electrician he is said to have created the "rumble" which I hope I can find on Johnny Burnette's Rock n Roll Trio's "Train Kept A'Rollin' "

    I wonder whether Les Paul played with any of the '40s Western Swing Bands at all? Serious jazzers like Charlie Parker are said to have done.

  2. I think he may have already been well established on his own by then.

    I haven't heard that version of Train Kept A' Rollin'. The only versions I know were the Yardbirds one and I did hear a live bootleg one from Aerosmith featuring Jimmy Page.

    And the guitar that he lent his name to is still my favourite to play. Other guitars have their advantages and disadvantages but nothing else feels like a Les Paul. They should come with a chiropractic health warning though, one seriously heavy lump of wood but then again, if you want that really long natural sustain, then you'll just have to suffer for your art a bit.

  3. PS.

    It turns out you're not a total philistine then?

  4. My phillistinism is broad and deep.

    I realise Les Paul was well established by the '40s but that would not preclude him playing with some of these bands, which were the precursors in part to much US country music, so much of it depressingly poor.

    Bob Wills' band was among the best imho.

    Spotify has the track:

    Johnny Burnette Trio they say, think they are wrong, but . . .

  5. Well after a bit of google searching it appears he did play with some western swing bands and also the likes of Nat King Cole too. Didn't realise he'd had quite so many number ones. Putting the likes of Eminem to shame.

  6. I recall "Little Red Monkey" as cringeworthy enough that I can't get it out of my mind. He was, among other things, the Pete Waterman of his age perhaps?

  7. Do you recall any of the western swing stuff?

  8. Nah, I'm a bit young for that being only 30! And western stuff isn't really my bag, the only music I'm familiar from in that era was blues and a liitle bit of jazz.

  9. Western Swing was something else, and serious (!) Jazz musicians like Les Paul (as you tell me) & Charlie Parker took their $$$$ as musicians will . . .

    Spotify is a bit short of god tracks, but Bob Willis was one of the best and swing with electric guitar, and various other instruments was often enjoyable & interesting.