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The news just goes from bad to worse for jazz fans today: Les Paul, a virtual God of the guitar, passed away this morning from complications of pneumonia at 94, reports the Associated Press.
Paul’s legacy is hard to overstate. He was a pioneer of the solid-body electric guitar, giving his name to a Gibson model guitar that to this day remains one of the best-selling instruments in the world. He is also credited with inventing the multitrack recording, innovating with half-speed and double-speed playback, and creating a device known as the “Les Paulverizer” which was among the first tape-looping technologies.
Over a four-year period in the early 1950s, Paul and his then wife, Mary Ford, had 16 top ten hits. Ford died in 1977.
Paul had not shied away from music in his old age. Until his recent illness, the nonagenarian had been playing every Monday night at the Iridium in Times Square.
The loss is tremendous.