Les Paul, RIP

Les Paul wasn’t a rock and roll musician, but without him there might not be any rock and roll as we know it. The single most defining image of rock music is the guitar: loud, powerful, and electric. The electric guitar gave rock a distinct sound. Overdubbing, effects, and multitracking were all studio tricks that rock and roll music exploited to great effect. They were also all innovations by Les Paul, the inventor of the solid-body electric guitar. Gibson Les Paul guitars are the favored axe of so many famous guitar players from Pete Townshend to Angus Young. Paul’s own music was a light jazz, and he was a nimble guitarist, but the youngsters who picked up the instrument in his wake far surpassed him in technical skill. There are no electric guitar players anywhere in the world today who don’t owe him a great debt. By his innovations, he became the father of rock and roll. RIP.