Les Paul's Genius Will Be Missed

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2009 3:57 PM CDT
Les Paul and his wife, Mary Ford, in 1951.   (AP Photo, file)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Les Paul's death today at age 94 has the accolades pouring in:

  • Lou Carlozo, True/Slant: "The solid-body Les Paul guitar that Lester developed with Gibson in the early 1950s is rock and roll. Like the Fender Stratocaster, its shape is so synonymous with the genre that any musician can recognize it by its single-cutaway silhouette alone."
  • John Cook, Gawker: Without Paul's multitrack recording, "there would have been no White Album, no Radiohead, no nothing." Cook also is in awe of how Paul retaught himself to play in his 80s, when he couldn't bend his arthritic fingers.

  • Adam Rosenberg, MTV: When Paul played with B.B. King, his "fiery passion" was "clearly evident on his face as he fiddled with King's treasured Lucille, and it's the sort of drive that any musician should aspire to achieve."
  • Michael Tomasky: the Guardian: "Absolute genius." He recalls a story from the 1940s when Paul injured his arm in a car wreck and was told that if it were set properly, he might not bend it again. "He told them to set it at the proper guitar-playing angle."