Timeless design from an age old beauty


Les PaulDon’t you just love this pic on the BBC?

I read with sadness this morning of the death of Les Paul, who invented the iconic Les Paul guitar – the must-have buy for any credible muso for decades.

When it comes to the design of musical instruments I am clueless but when you look at the guitars and think he came up with the design in 1959 (I think), you know every electric guitar since has come from there. Stylish and tactile, that shiny surface makes you just want to stroke your face with it!

I know nothing about his own music. To me he is just a name of a guitar but a name I’ve always known and a name I’ve always known to have been the best in its field.

Indeed a friend of mine, who could well be described as going through a mid-life crisis, and massive music (listening) fan, recently bought a left handed Les Paul on eBay with a view to learning how to play it!!!!! A lifelong Who fan he was determined to learn Pete Townshend’s talent yet had never picked up a musical instrument in his life. All he knew was that he MUST have a Les Paul and then learn to play it.

1974 Beauty!

Similarly my sister is a professional musician but her forte is keyboards and musical arrangement/orchestration and while not being a guitarist per se, she too HAD to have a Les Paul. (I always liked the Fender Rhodes – what do I know?)

The Les Paul is another one of those items which inspires passion from its fans in the same way people enthuse about Camper Vans or Marmite! And you look at it and you DO think – I want one. Whether or not you can play, I mean look at it – you could hang it on the wall as a piece of art and it wouldn’t look out of place. (mmmm that’s not a bad idea)

And it’s ironic that Les Paul should die during the 40 year celebrations since Woodstock – don’t get me wrong but I think there’s a real beauty in that coincidence, it seems right and fitting.

There’s a very brief statement on the Who’s website which I think is wonderfully put, “Without him would The Who have been The Who? Would Zepellin have had any Led? Would the Stones have rolled?”

I am banging out Won’t Get Fooled Again as I blog – “I pick up my guitar and play, just like yesterday, then I get down on my knees and pray, we don’t get fooled again” ROCK ‘N’ ROLL People!

Some of  my most enjoyable times in life have been in the company of a Les Paul or two – Quadrophenia on Hyde Park, The Stones at Maine Road…..so I’ll say thanks and hope that there’s a banging guitarfest on the TV tonight in deference to the man and not some sugary, fluffy piece fronted by Fearn Cotton – let’s have some Bob Harris magic!


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