Farewell, Les Paul.
From first reading about you in Denny Laine’s guitar book when I was about 9 years old and deciding you were my new hero, to buying Mrs I Heart Guitar a Les Paul & Mary Ford CD in our early dating days after we had both blissed out over ‘Hummingbird’ together, and many other points in between and since, it felt like you were like a grandad who I never got to see but who still sent me a birthday card with five bucks in it every year.
Les Paul, whose innovations with the electric guitar and studio technology made him one of the most important figures in recorded music, has died, according to a statement from his publicists. Paul was 94.
Paul died in White Plains, New York, from complications of severe pneumonia, according to the statement.
Paul was a guitar and electronics mastermind whose creations — such as multitrack recording, tape delay and the solid-body guitar that bears his name, the Gibson Les Paul — helped give rise to modern popular music, including rock ‘n’ roll. No slouch on the guitar himself, he continued playing at clubs into his 90s despite being hampered by arthritis.
“If you only have two fingers [to work with], you have to think, how will you play that chord?” he told CNN.com in a 2002 phone interview. “So you think of how to replace that chord with several notes, and it gives the illusion of sounding like a chord.”
The last word should belong to Les Paul himself, so, enjoy: