Les Paul Dead at 94

We all have our favorite guitar heroes. But our favorite guitar heroes all have a hero of their own and his name is Les Paul.

The legendary pioneer of the electric guitar, perhaps the man most responsible for the rock sound we hear today (although not nearly enough), died on the evening of August 12th from respiratory failure. Press releases indicate Paul was suffering severe pneumonia. He died at a hospital in White Plains, New York.

Paul won a Grammy in 1977 for an album of instrumental duets with Chet Atkins and had a standing gig for much of the 1980s and mid-'90s at the New York jazz club Fat Tuesday's.

Paul won a Grammy in 1977 for an album of instrumental duets with Chet Atkins and had a standing gig for much of the 1980s and mid-'90s at the New York jazz club Fat Tuesday's.

Paul’s contribution to the electric guitar and recording techniques are incomparable. He’s credited as the inventor of the electric body guitar, pioneered the recording techniques of electronic echo and multi-tracking, made the first-ever eight-track recording, introduced various types of electronic transducers used both in guitars and recording studios, and he created the dual-pickup guitar and the 14-fret guitar.

“I wanted people to hear me,” he told Guitar Player in 2002. “That’s where the whole idea of a solid-body guitar came from. In the ’30s, the archtop electric was such an apologetic instrument. On the bandstand, it was so difficult battling with a drummer, the horns, and all the instruments that had so much power.

“With a solid-body, guitarists could get louder and express themselves,” he said. “Instead of being wimps, we’d become one of the most powerful people in the band. We could turn that mother up and do what we couldn’t do before.”

In 1952, Gibson began selling the Les Paul model, now a rock & roll standard

In 1952, Gibson began selling the Les Paul model, now a rock & roll standard

Gibson Guitars hooked up with Paul and the six-string bearing his name became one of the guitar maker’s signatures. This relationship made his name synonymous with electric guitars. Jimmy Page used a Les Paul on the second Led Zeppelin album, and Peter Frampton flashed one on the cover of his rather robust selling 1976 live album.

Other famous rockers who’ve used Les Paul guitars include Chuck Berry, the Everly Brothers, B.B. King, Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, Bob Marley, Carlos Santana, Dave Grohl, The Edge, Lenny Kravitz, Neil Young, Joan Jett, Eddie Van Halen, and Billie Joe Armstrong.

During a concert in his honor Paul told the audience, “Everybody thought I was a guitar until I played here tonight.”

In the 1940s and early 1950s, Paul and singer Mary Ford, his wife at the time, had hits with "How High the Moon," "The Tennessee Waltz," "Vaya con Dios" and "The World is Waiting for the Sunrise."

In the 1940s and early 1950s, Paul and singer Mary Ford, his wife at the time, had hits with How High the Moon, The Tennessee Waltz, Vaya con Dios and The World is Waiting for the Sunrise.

Besides his immense technical achievements Paul was also a guitar virtuoso. Paul had a string of hits with Mary Ford in the early 1950’s. He ranked #46 in Rolling Stones magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarist of All-time and he’s a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“He was one of the most stellar human beings I’ve ever known,” Slash stated on Twitter. He also referred to Paul as his “friend and mentor.”

Paul has perform or recorded with such luminaries as Art Tatum, Charlie Christian, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, the Andrews Sisters, Andy Williams and even W.C. Fields

Lester William Polsfuss was born in the sleepy town of Waukesha, Wisconsin on June 9th, 1915. He dropped out of high school at 17 and joined the Sunny Joe Wolverton’s Radio Band in St. Louis, Missouri. Paul is survived by three sons, a daughter and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UvXr2e9DwU]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYlG7qb3iCs]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByGsHTlKmWk]

Learn More About .