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Les Paul


1915

Lester William Polfuss – a.k.a. Les Paul – is born in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

1928

Les Paul begins performing country music as “Rhubarb Red” at the age of 13.

1939

Les Paul’s jazz trio performs at the White House at the request of President Roosevelt.

1941

Les Paul invents the first solidbody electric guitar.

1946

Les Paul temporarily drops out of music to work on a new guitar sound and recording style.

1947

The technique of multitracking is introduced to the world when Les Paul releases his first eight-track recordings.

1948

Les Paul nearly dies when his car skids off a bridge in a snowstorm.

1949

Les Paul marries singer Mary Ford, with whom he forms a highly successful musical duo.

1950

The Les Paul Show, featuring Paul, Ford and rhythm guitarist Eddie Stapleton, debuts on NBC Radio.

1951

“How High the Moon,” by Les Paul and Mary Ford, becomes a #1 single.

1952

The Les Paul gold-top solidbody electric guitar is brought to the market by Gibson Guitars.

1953

“Vaya Con Dios,” by Les Paul and Mary Ford, becomes a #1 single. The song’s title translates as “May God Be With You.”

1954

Les Paul commissions Ampex to build the first eight-track tape recorder. It features a head, designed by Paul, that can record or play back tracks. Paul’s “Sel-Sync” (Selective Synchronization) design becomes the industry standard for 30 years.

1961

Gibson introduces the new Les Paul model, which has design changes made without Paul’s knowledge. At his request, it is renamed the Gibson SG, and the guitarist temporarily drops his endorsement contract with the guitar maker.

1967

Les Paul Now!, which features updated version of the guitarist’s earlier hits, is released on London Records.

1976

Chester and Lester, and album of guitar duets by Les Paul and Chet Atkins, is released on RCA. It will win a Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance.

1978

Les Paul and Mary Ford are inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

1983

Les Paul receives the Trustees Award from the Recording Academy in recognition of his “significant contributions to the field of reocrding.”

1984

Les Paul begins a Monday-evening residency at a Greenwich Village club called Fat Tuesday, which will continue until 1995.

1988

Les Paul is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 3rd annual induction dinner. Jeff Beck is his presenter.

2005

Les Paul is inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

2005

American Made/World Played, credited to Les Paul & Friends, is released on Capitol Records. It includes appearances by Eric Clapton, Joe Perry, Jeff Beck, Keith Richards and Buddy Guy.

2008

Les Paul is honored as the 2008 American Music Master, part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s annual series.

2009

At age 94, Les Paul died of complications from pneumonia at White Plains Hospital.

Les Paul