Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday 55 & Da Count-Les Paul

FRIDAY 55

He invented the solid body electric guitar
after creating his prototype, "The Log,"
which was originally rejected.
He had the idea for multitrack recording.
He nearly lost his right arm in a car accident in the 40s.
He won Grammys for performance at age 90.
He changed the sound of music forever.
R.I.P. Les Paul




DA COUNT

Les Paul died yesterday at age 94. Maybe you know of him, maybe you don't. If you have ever listened to anything with an electric guitar and enjoyed it you owe him a debt of gratitude. Jazz, country, pop, rock, heavy metal, it doesn't matter which of those styles you favor, you owe Les Paul your thanks. He has been inducted into several Halls of Fame (Rock and Roll, Inventors, Grammy, Songwriter) because of his talent, innovation, and influence. A whole line of Gibson guitars bears his name and is favored by far too many big names to begin to list here. He continued performing regularly at New York's Iridium Jazz Club until very recently.

As if all that were not enough I am also blown away by how he came back from a devastating injury. After his right arm was shattered in 3 places in a car accident in 1948, doctors suggested amputation. Instead, Les Paul insisted on surgery and having his hand set in a position which would still allow him to continue playing. He spent 18 months in casts. I am humbled by the stubbornness he showed his doctors, who were sure he'd never play again, and by the incredible discipline required for him to get back to his guitar. That he not only continued playing, but excelled beyond so many others until his 90's just blows my mind. I can't seem to find the discipline to play through 15 minutes of stabbing pain in my wrist and numbness in my fingers.

The music world has lost a giant.


Ladies and gentlemen, Les Paul.

Over the Rainbow



Caravan

21 comments:

Desmond Jones said...

Thanks for this, Lime.

Les Paul was an amazing man. His 'gadget-y' creativity was simply incredible, if you think about it. I think his first hollow-body electric guitar, he just jammed a phonograph needle into the saddle, and lo and behold, he got sound! And nobody else even had the idea for a solid-body electric. I've never really mastered the art of playing an electric guitar, but I have certainly appreciated the skill and artistry of those who could do it well. Many (if not most) of whom were doing so on a Gibson Les Paul. . .

I was frankly surprised that he was still living; and still playing - skillfully so - in his 90s. His passing is rightly mourned; he will be missed. . .

Cheesy said...

What a lost to the world of musical art. He was truly a gift. I remember many moons ago when my sister had to sell her Les Paul guitar to make rent. All these many years later she still is in mourning. Rest well you beautiful soul.

Maddy said...

I heard a snippet on the radio yesterday. He sounded wonderfully cheerful and upbeat.

Craver Vii said...

Warm tribute. What a great contribution he gave.

lecram said...

Aye, he certainly was a giant... and a direct influence to many past and present. A wonderful and melodic count. Cheers!

Casdok said...

Yes he will be missed. Lovely tribute.

Suldog said...

THE guitar player of our time. Everybody who played guitar for a living, from about 1960 on, owed him some measure of thanks, whether for technique or his line of instruments or just popularizing the damn electric guitar or for his technical work. Now that he's there, Heaven can start swinging.

And, I kid you not my word veri is "mensch". How appropriate!

g-man said...

Weather he was the greatest of all time is somewhat debatable when you think of other giants such as Chet Atkins and Django Rinehart, but he certainly was the most influential!!
Excellent tribute 55 Trini.

Thanks for sharing this, and have a Kick-Ass Week-End...G

anthonynorth said...

I remembered Les Paul yesterday. I used to be in a local rock band, and though I couldn't afford the real thing, I had a very good copy of that iconic beauty.

S said...

I wish I had a guitar named after me.....

coopernicus said...

A true pioneer....

Fandango said...

We dragons thank you for your 55, your history, and your sharing of the music.

we have posted
HERE.

Dr.John said...

I think this 55 is a grand tribute to a great man. Thanks for the 55 and related material.

Mine is posted
HERE.

(M)ary said...

where is the video of you playing the guitar in honor of Les Paul?
(-:

secret agent woman said...

Even my boys, guitar players both, had heard of Les Paul's death. Cool that 94 year old is known to people eight decades younger.

Malicious Intent said...

Les Paul died and slid into home plate with a torn-up, beat-up, used and abused body saying "weeeee, let's do that again!"

Only way to do it! We should not mourn him, but applaud him for one hell of a life. He sorta deserves a vacation though. :) Maybe kick back with a banjo for a while.

DianeCA said...

It is a shame to lose such talent, he will be playing in heaven soon. He's been giving us a little peace of heaven for years so it is his just reward. Nice tribute.

Lolly said...

Thank you Lime! I had always heard of the name, but didn't really know much about him. I thoroughly enjoyed the videos.

Michelle H. said...

A wonderful tribute for a great man. Play that sweet electric and fill my soul with fire. Thank you. Lime!

Lulda Casadaga said...

Nice tribute/55. What an icon...
My cousin who plays guitar and teaches music was fortunate to meet Mr.Paul and have a pic taken with him ...He will be missed!

Jocelyn said...

I've known very loose info about him for years, but I had no idea about the specifics of his life. Thanks!