Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Les Paul: by Lezah

Jazz guitarist Les Paul is legendary for a number of reasons: a well-respected musician and inventor, Les Paul recently turned 90 and still plays weekly sold out gigs at the Iridium Jazz Club with his trio.

On June 19/05 Paul was honoured at Carnegie Hall. PBS has spent the last year creating a documentary about Paul, and he has two new CDs coming out soon, his first release since 1978. One is a re-issue of his 'Best of' recordings that were done with his former wife Mary Ford, while the second is an all-star recording featuring friends such as Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, and Joss Stone.

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image from /guitar-masters.com

In addition to being a five-time Grammy winner and being in three different halls of fame (the Rock and Roll HoF, the National Inventors HoF, and the Songwriters HoF), Paul is also a household name for inventing the Les Paul solid-body electric guitar, as well as many other musical innovations.

Life has not been without its challenges for Paul. He is a survivor of both quintuple bypass surgery, and a near fatal 1948 car accident where doctors had to set his right arm into a permanent guitar-playing position. Paul also now suffers from degenerative arthritis in his hands, and is forced to wear two hearing aids since he has lost most of his hearing.

But nothing stops him from playing! He says, "That car accident forced me to learn how to play a better way. Only a fool would try to do something impossible. But if I can reach for a star, I'll go for it."

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