Anyone who has ever picked up an electric guitar owes a debt of thanks to Les Paul, who died today at 94.
Paul built a solid body guitar, which served as the template for the electric guitar. Paul’s model, introduced by Gibson in 1952, remains one of the most popular guitars to this day. His tinkering in the studio also led to multi-track recording.
Slash and Jimmy Page play Les Pauls. So do Madonna, Katy Perry, Ben Harper, Coldplay’s Johnny Buckland and Oasis’s Noel Gallagher.
Many artists are speaking out about their love and admiration for Paul. Below are a collection of comments.
“My friend & mentor Les Paul died today at 94, he was one of the most stellar human beings I’ve ever known, rest in peace Les.”
-Slash (via Twitter)
“Remembering Les Paul today. Just happened to have his namesake Gibson around my shoulder the last few days.”
“Les Paul set a standard for musicianship and innovation that remains unsurpassed,” said Joe Satriani. “He was the original guitar hero, and the kindest of souls. Last October I joined him onstage at The Iridium club in NYC, and he was still shredding. He was and still is an inspiration to us all.”
“Les Paul was truly a ‘one of a kind.’ We owe many of his inventions that made the rock ‘n roll sound of today to him, and he was the founding father of modern music .This is a huge loss to the music community and the world. I am honored to have known him.”
“I am deeply touched by the passing of Les Paul who I first met in 1959. As a guitarist, composer, electronic innovator and inventor, he was beyond genius and there was none other like him. He was a true musical gift from God to the world and spent his life honoring that gift. I proudly play my Les Paul guitars every night on stage and never forget the moments we shared.”
-Randy Bachman, Bachman Turner Overdrive/Guess Who
Also, in a nice move, the flag that flies on top of the Capitol Tower in Hollywood has been lowered to half-staff in Paul’s honor. Paul was signed to Capitol Records in 1948 and played a pivotal role in building the label and the legendary Capitol Studios.