For a man who didn’t really play or record rock music, (He released his first rock album 4 years ago,) Les Paul did indeed rock the Rock Music scene, (as well as all other branches in the music and recording genres!) Growing up into Music during the late 60’s, I was aware of Les Paul and his then wife, Mary Ford, although I really wasn’t into the traditional Country music scene. (Then or now, although I like Hillbilly and some outlaw and some modern Country music!)
Anyway, I was aware of him and his wife (Les Paul & Mary Ford) as recording artists; and that he had a Guitar named after him, but it wasn’t till his death recently (Aug.13) that I discovered how instrumental (Pun originally unintended) he had been to the music scene and in particular, to the Rock music scene. So much so that they even made him a member of their “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”.
It seems he was one of the pioneers who perfected the Electric guitar and also developed the technology for Multi track recording and over dubbing, so commonplace today. Also, along with his wife Mary, they also instituted the first live reality shows on TV, way back in 1951 when they broadcasted weekly, from their own home. I believe it was only for a few minutes at a time, once a week, but it continued for 7 years still!
I was initially surprise at the time of his death too, to find that he hadn’t been dead for years before that, as he was old even back then, but had just succumbed now at the ripe old age of 94. But I was even more surprised and even greatly impressed, by his greatest achievement, which was none of the above to me. Yes, as ground breaking and innovative as these other achievements were, what impressed me the most, was to find that even at 94 years of age he had still been performing weekly at a nearby New York Jazz club, playing “his” music. Right up until about 7 weeks before his death.
I would like to think that, that would also be true of you and me too, if we should live that long! To still be doing what we loved to do, despite any and all past achievements, no matter how great they may have been! To keep doing what we love and sharing it with others, no matter how small the number or how forgotten by the majority!
Yes Les Paul was still enjoying His life, and plying his trade the way he wanted, right up till the end. Will you and I? I pray so!