Monday, June 9, 2014

Happy 99th Birthday Les Paul!

Les Paul

Today, June 9th, would have been Les Paul's 99th birthday. Les changed the world with his inventions, his guitar playing and more importantly, his insatiable curiosity. I had the good fortune to meet Les and work with him while I was at Ensoniq in the 80s and 90s. He used our products and was always interested in what was coming next. When I moved on to Sonic Foundry, we had discussions regarding sampling and looping and the effects it would have on the music creation process. After Broadjam was launched, the topic moved to mp3s and the compression algorithms to create them. He was always inquisitive and full of ideas.

Les Paul Roy Elkins
Les at home with many of his inventions & instruments

My favorite Les Paul story.  He was traveling back from the west coast with Mary Ford when his car skidded off the road and nearly killed both of them. His right arm was shattered and he instructed the doctors to position it in a way so he could pick a guitar. To the day he died, his right arm was always bent like he was holding a guitar.

He played the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City right up until his death. It was a ritual to go see Les when traveling to NYC. He was always gracious and made you feel li
ke you were the most important person in his life.

While he is widely known for his innovations, those who knew him remember his friendly, humorous, engaging and inquisitive personality. Below is a link to a blog for your perusal written shortly after his death. 

Roy Elkins remembers Les Paul

Also, please support the Les Paul foundation.  He was philanthropic in life and now in death.  I am happy to be affiliated with the great people who run his organization.

Les Paul Foundation


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