Les Paul Passes Away at 94

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Les Paul, who changed the course of music by inventing the electric guitar and multitrack recording, and had a string of hits of his own, died today at age 94.

He passed away in White Plains, N.Y. During the early 1950s, he and his second wife, singer Mary Ford, were among the most popular acts in all of show business.

As recording executive Ahmet Ertegun said in 1988 upon Les Paul’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, “Les Paul is an inspiration to a world of guitarists for his playing, for the instrument he created and his multiple-track recording innovations."

"Without him, it’s hard to imagine how rock and roll would be played today.”

Les Paul enjoyed enormous success in a performing career that lasted more than 80 years, selling more than 10 million records and earning 34 gold records.

“What he was doing on those hits couldn’t have failed to influence any guitarist,” Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, a vastly different player, once said of Paul.

He will be missed!


God, what an innovator. When I think about the ink that was spilled when Michael Jackson died . . . Les Paul INVENTED rock music. He changed how we listen to music. There isn't a guitarist alive who doesn't owe Paul a huge debt of gratitude. Until he died, Jackson's music wasn't played on the radio and nobody, especially young urban hip-hop and rap musicians, copied his style. Meanwhile, Les Paul's influence was felt every time a musician turned on an amp. What an incredible genius.