Following the announcement yesterday of Les Paul's death at the age of 94, many of his fellow musicians, producers, and guitar acolytes stepped forward to remember the man who changed the course of modern music and recording.
"Les was a renaissance man. He was many things, a great inventor, a great conceptualizer, but for me he was a great musician, who played with feeling and originality. Sometimes in his many accomplishments like guitar design and the multi-track recorder and all the other things he had a part in, you forget he was an incredible emotional musician."
-- Lenny Kaye, guitarist for Patti Smith and rock historian
"If you look at the Log, the prototype of the Les Paul, he invented what he needed to invent. If he needed a part, he invented a way to make it. So I have to think he would see [digital recordig] as a natural evolution of technology. He was always thinking ahead, he was always positive. With him it was all about the idea and the magic of conjuring up these sound images in his head. And that doesn't have any boundary, mechanical, technical, digital, analog, whatever, that's really where the magic is, and his genius was envisioning those sounds and making them happen."
-- Joe Perry, Aerosmith
"I met him in 1988, when Bon Jovi was starting to work on 'New Jersey.' Les came over on my birthday and we sat on the dock behind my house for hours and talked. At the end, he gave me a guitar and said 'Son, here's the sword, now go out and cut the shit.'"
-- Richie Sambora, Bon Jovi
"Les Paul was a shining example of how full one's life can be. He accomplished so much, & was so vibrant & full of positive energy. I'm honored & humbled to have known & played with him over the years, he was an exceptionally brilliant man, musician, inventor, mentor & friend."
-- Slash, Guns 'n' Roses
"Let us celebrate the era of Les Paul today, and the world of sound we get to experience thanks to him. What a legacy, what a life. 'Somewhere there's music...how high the moon...' Because of Les, everywhere there's music."
-- Brad Paisley
"Multi-tracking in and of itself is probably the most ingenious thing ever because it allowed an artist to play multiple roles, or duplicate himself on a track. If we didn't have multitracking, how else would you get to hear someone sing their own backing harmonies, or play a lead guitar over a rhythm guitar they themselves have played? Or allow an artist like Prince for example, to play every instrument on a recording, bass, drums, guitar, programming, singing. The depth of an artist can be so much more than just a singular performance. Imagine if Frank Sinatra got to sing background harmonies with himself, it could have been some amazing recordings."
-- Rob Cavallo, Producer
"Les single-handedly was responsible for creating the modern guitar, not just certain aspects of the instrument but beyond. When you roll-up all of his innovations, the multi-track recording, which led to the start of the modern recording studio. He started guitar effects. He sed to keep this little box on stage, but behind the stage was a huge rack of tape recorders and when you hear all the effects, the sound on sound and delays, sustained sounds and distortion, you can see he pushed the envelope of what would become rock 'n' roll. Les developed the guitar into something completely different. And it wasn't just the guitar, it was the whole environment around the guitar and it was some of the licks that didn't get popularized until the 60's and 70's."
-- Henry Juszkiewicz, chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar
"This is a huge loss, not just for guitar players, but for the recording industry. He was kind of like the Hendrix of his day. Even though it was before my time, any guitar player from that era had to have been hugely effected by what Les Paul was doing. He changed guitar playing and the recording process from that point
-- Warren Haynes
"I'm saddend by the passing of such a great musician and innovator. Les Paul changed the direction and history of music forever with his invention of multi-track recording for musicians and music-lovers alike. Without it, many of today's most beloved recordings would never have been possible. Les also gave a voice to so many aspiring guitar players (myself included) through his self-titled Les Paul guitar--one of the most iconic guitars of all-time. I wish I'd had the chance to meet and thank the man who influenced me so greatly. RIP Les Paul."
-- James Otto