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Music Industry
Remembers Les Paul

Les Paul was the musical mind behind innovations, such as multitrack recording, tape delay, guitar effects and the guitar that bears his name, the Gibson Les Paul, which was introduced in 1952. He died on Aug. 13 from complications with pneumonia at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, N.Y. He was 94.

Hartley Peavey, the founder and CEO of Peavey Electronics, remembers Paul as “an innovative and creative spirit” with a “love of people.”

“I was proud to have known him and even prouder that his life and mine were connected in an astounding way through relationships with people who inspired both of our careers,” Peavey said. “Most importantly, he helped make the world a better place in more ways than most people realize. Les had a wonderful, long life and career. We’ll all miss him deeply, but his contributions and his legacy will live on forever.”

Paul’s diverse talents resulted in his induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

“Les Paul brought great products and innovations to our industry that would not have happened if it were not for all of his hard work and passion for music,” said Dave Miller, president Buddy Roger’s Music in Cincinnati. “[I am] sorry to see him go, but his spirit and passion for our industry will always be with us.”

Brian Reardon, owner of Monster Music in Rockville Centre, N.Y., saw Les Paul perform at New York’s Iridium Jazz Club in 2007. At these performances, Paul would often let musicians in the audience sit in with his band. Reardon recalled a note being passed to the stage, which Paul investigated before announcing that John Fogerty was in the audience. “The person passing the note — it might have been Fogerty himself — was clearly expecting Les to drop everything and ask Fogerty to join him onstage,” Reardon said. “Les placed the note down and continued with his show. I read this as an old-school way of saying, ‘Love to play with you, Fogerty, but you’re not jumping ahead of the musicians already in line on the side of the stage.’”

Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, U2’s The Edge, Guns N’ Roses’ Slash, The Who’s Pete Townshend and Joe Satriani are among those closely associated with the Les Paul sound. “Les Paul set a standard for musicianship and innovation that remains unsurpassed,” Satriani said. “He was the original guitar hero, and the kindest of souls.”

“We thank Les Paul for his numerous and lifelong contributions to our music, our industry and our lives,” said Todd Skaw of Guitars Etc. in Longmont, Colo.

Paul’s family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Les Paul Foundation, 236 West 30th St., 7th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10001.