Les Paul Has Died

les-paulFrom Gibson Guitar: New York, NY…August 13, 2009…Les Paul, acclaimed guitar player, entertainer and inventor, passed away today from complications of severe pneumonia at White Plains Hospital in White Plain, New York, surrounded by family and loved ones. He had been receiving the best available treatment through this final battle and in keeping with his persona, he showed incredible strength, tenacity and courage. The family would like to express their heartfelt thanks for the thoughts and prayers from his dear friends and fans. Les Paul was 94.

One of the foremost influences on 20th century sound and responsible for the world’s most famous guitar, the Les Paul model, Les Paul’s prestigious career in music and invention spans from the 1930s to the present. Though he’s indisputably one of America’s most popular, influential, and accomplished electric guitarists, Les Paul is best known as an early innovator in the development of the solid body guitar. His groundbreaking design would become the template for Gibson’s best-selling electric, the Les Paul model, introduced in 1952. Today, countless musical legends still consider Paul’s iconic guitar unmatched in sound and prowess. Among Paul’s most enduring contributions are those in the technological realm, including ingenious developments in multi-track recording, guitar effects, and the mechanics of sound in general.

A private funeral service will be held in New York. A service in Waukesha, WI will be announced at a later date. Details will follow and will be announced for all services. Memorial tributes for the public will be announced at a future date. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Les Paul Foundation, 236 West 30th Street, 7th Floor, New York, New York 10001.

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Keith Urban statement on Les Paul:
“I have a mix of emotions today. On one hand, I am deeply saddened at Les Paul’s passing, and on the other a feeling of incredible gratitude and awe for his unquantifiable contribution to the world of music. His name adorns so many of the creations that I communicate through every night out here on the road…He is also very present every time I set foot in the studio and am able to lay multiple tracks as I record, when I use echo, etc., the list of his inventions, in addition to his famous signature model Gibson, are extraordinary. I also feel that even in his nineties, the fact he was still playing every Monday night in New York is perhaps the most beautiful and inspiring achievement of all. As Vince Gill would say, “Go rest high on that mountain Les…cause son, your work on earth is done.”

Statement from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum:
“Without Les Paul, we would not have rock and roll as we know it. His inventions created the infrastructure for the music and his playing style will ripple through generations. He was truly an architect of rock and roll.”–Terry Stewart, Pres. and CEO

“Les Paul was truly a unique human being. He was an artist who made his mark as a tremendously influential guitarist. He was also an inventor, the man responsible for the solid-body electric guitar and multi-track recording. Few people have accomplished as much as Les did in his legendary career. We will truly miss him.” —Jim Henke, vice president of exhibitions and curatorial affairs

Joe Satriani Statement:
“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.”

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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