Musical innovator and guitar legend Les Paul died today in White Plains, NY. He was 94. A “virtuoso guitarist” himself, in the early 1940s Paul pioneered the “log” guitar, “probably the first solid-body electric guitar," writes Jon Pareles of the New York Times. His popular Gibson Les Paul guitar and his recording inventions helped him “change the course of 20th-century popular music.”
Paul learned to be a “one-man ensemble” by pairing machines and layering recordings; he later built the first eight-track recorder. The Gibson Les Paul has been played by rockers from Jimmy Page to Slash. Paul was also a successful musician in his own right. With his then-wife, Mary Ford, he had dozens of hits in the 1950s and continued to play for decades, battling through arthritis and finger paralysis.