Les Paul, 1915-2009

Music pioneer Les Paul passed away today at the age of 94. While he was a revered and successful guitarist and performer in his own right, he is at least partly responsible for a number of technical innovations without which the rock era would not have happened. For starters, in the 1930's he was one of the first people to develop a full-body electric guitar. Gibson Guitar Corporation started to build electric guitars based on Paul's design in the early 50's, and the Gibson Les Paul has been used by the likes of Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Slash, and The Edge. In the late 40's, Paul developed arguably the most important innovations in music recording technology, multitrack recording and overdubbing. Before him, records were made with one microphone, and if one instrument or voice was unsatisfactory the whole thing had to be redone. Les Paul might not be the most well-known musical figure to pass away so far this summer, but he is clearly the most important and influential.

Les Paul performing on television with his wife Mary Ford in 1953.

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