Thursday, 13 August 2009

Les Paul

BONG! I got a message on my phone earlier this evening from ITN asking whether I could appear on the News At Ten tonight to talk about Les Paul, who died earlier today.

BONG! I said no, because a) I don't know enough about Les Paul to make a mook of myself live on prime time television; and b) I don't really 'do' ITV.

However, by coincidence last week I did talk to the splendid Slash, specifically about his love of Les Paul. He waxed lyrical - very erudite man, Slash - about what a unique and inspirational figure he was, and how playing with him was a "humiliating, humbling experience." He said they still talked on the phone often (a lovely image) and ended by saying: "It's guys like Les who make guys like me feel optimistic about playing into the grave."

Sadly prescient words about a man who would be dead a little over a week later, at the great old age of 94. If I had been tempted into the arms of ITV I would have said that not only rock and roll guitar-playing, but perhaps more importantly rock and roll records, would not sound remotely similar to the way they sound today if it hadn't been for his pioneering use of recorded sound and astonishing technique. He was something close to a genius. There's a fine obit here.

BONG! Here endeth the news.

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