LES PAUL TRIBUTE
(Originally aired on August 20, 2009)
Because of the importance of this show, we've broken from our norm of just streaming the interview clips and decided to make the whole show available to hear. Enjoy!
Les Paul died in 2009 at age 94. To commemorate his life and career, in the week following his passing, we put together a mix of interviews and music that highlight his amazing accomplishments.
We'll listen to rare, live radio performances by the Les Paul Trio from 1947, as well as tracks Les Paul recorded with Mary Ford and later with Chet Atkins.
And here's a real treat: We'll hear exclusive, previously unheard interview clips with Les Paul himself, courtesy of photographer and journalist Jon Sievert, who interviewed Les in 1977 for Guitar Player magazine. Guitar Player opened their archives too: We'll hear an excerpt from a 2005 interview with Les by GP's chief editor, Michael Molenda.
To give us a perspective on the man, his music, and his inventions, we've asked four experts to share their thoughts about Les Paul. We'll hear from the late Tom Wheeler, who was chief editor of Guitar Player magazine for 10 years. He's a prolific author, having penned the classic American Guitars: An Illustrated History, and three beautiful and definitive coffee-table books on Fender guitars and amps. A skilled guitarist himself, Wheeler has interviewed many of the great players and designers of our time, and has an unparalleled view of the guitar's evolution.
Another author with a deep knowledge of Les Paul and his accomplishments is Mary Alice Shaughnessy, who wrote the acclaimed Les Paul: An American Original. In the process of writing this biography, she interviewed more than 100 people, including musicians, family, friends, and industry insiders. In addition to explaining Mary Ford's role in Les Paul's success, Shaughnessy takes us inside the New Jersey home the couple shared when they were married.
We'll hear from musicians too: Greg Martin, who is renowned for his righteous Gibson Les Paul tones, tells us of his life-long obsession with Les Paul guitars and how he acquired his 1958 sunburst — the holy grail of all Les Paul models. We'll also hear him play a solo on that instrument.
And the amazing fingerpicker Tommy Emmanuel recalls how as a kid in Australia, he was affected by Les Paul's music and describes what it was like, years later, to share the stage with Les Paul at Carnegie Hall.
It's quite a program, so I hope you'll sit back and enjoy the conversation and music. If you dig eclectic guitar, you'll be glad you did!