Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Genius Has Exited The Planet

One of the most influential musicians of the 20th century has played his last encore. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member and Waukesha, Wisconsin native Les Paul passed away in New York at the age of 94.

Born Lester William Polsfuss, Paul started performing at home when he was 10 years old, organizing his own little orchestra. He also became fascinated with electronics, building his own broadcasting set in his basement.

Aside from making rock-and-roll possible with his 1927 creation of the electric guitar using the cartridge and stylus from a phonograph, Paul also contributed immensely to the advance of studio recording over the years with inventions like multitrack recording, reverb, and more than a dozen others.

Paul influenced scores of musicians in the worlds of rock and jazz. One of them was Steve Miller. Back in 1948, Miller's father struck up a friendship with Paul when the guitarist was visiting Milwaukee for a date at a local club.

With his wife Mary Ford, Paul enjoyed a series of over 25 top forty hits in the late '40s and early '50s including Vaya Con Dios, Hummingbird, and How High the Moon.