Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Tribute to Les Paul on His 100th Birthday

It was 100 years ago today that guitar virtuoso and recording innovator Les Paul was born Lester William Polsfuss in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Beyond his skill with the guitar it is impossible to overestimate the importance of Les Paul to modern music. He developed one of the first solid body, electric guitars (independently Leo Fender was working on his own solid body, electric guitar at the time).  He played a pivotal role in the development of multirack recording, experimenting in multitracking as far back as the Thirties. He was also one of the first artists to utilise delay effects. Between multitracking, overdubbing, and various other recording effects, Les Paul developed much of what is taken for granted in modern day recording. What makes him all the more remarkable is that at the same time he had a highly successful recording career, including a string of hits recorded with his wife Mary Ford.

I already summarised Les Paul's career upon the occasion of his death in 2009 (you can read it here), so I won't repeat myself. Instead I will give you some highlights of his remarkable recording career via YouTube.

Les Paul with Bing Crosby and the Les Paul Trio performing "It's Been a Long, Long Time". 
Les Paul and his instrumental "The Kangaroo"

Les Paul with then wife Mary Ford performing "Mockingbird Hill"

Les Paul and Mary Ford performing "Song in Blue"

Les Paul and Chet Atkins performing "Limehouse Blues"

Les Paul with Joss Stone and Sting performing "Love Sneakin' Up on You"

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