Personalities | Les Paul | Roots of Rock

(Guitar, 1915–2009)

At 13 Lester Polfus was playing country music semi-professionally and working on sound-related inventions. In the 1930s and 1940s, he worked his way from Wisconsin to New York, eventually playing for blues shouter Georgia White and bandleader Fred Waring before settling in Hollywood and working with Bing Crosby and others. Paul also developed ideas for an electric guitar design and new recording techniques like multi-tracking.

Paul’s interests converged when with his wife, singer Colleen Summers, whom Paul renamed Mary Ford, he recorded several albums of standards such as ‘How High The Moon’ and ‘Vaya Con Dios’. Both became No. 1 hits and spotlighted Paul’s pioneering use of overdubbing, which created a futuristic sound nicely modulated by Ford’s voice. Les Paul’s namesake guitar would become synonymous with rock, and Paul would continue performing into his 90s, achieving iconic status for his contributions to the music world.

Styles & Forms | Roots of Rock
Personalities | The Penguins | Roots of Rock

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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