x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Guitar legend Les Paul dies

The legendary guitarist and inventor who pioneered designs of electrical guitars dies of complications from pneumonia, aged 94.

Les Paul performing at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York in 2007.
Les Paul performing at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York in 2007.

LOS ANGELES // Legendary guitarist and inventor Les Paul, who pioneered designs of electric guitars, has died of complications from pneumonia at a New York hospital, his lawyer said on Thursday. He was 94. His lawyer Michael Braunstein said Paul died at the White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York. He added that Paul had been "in and out of the hospital" for about two months and had battled a number of illnesses.

"At 94, it's hard to fight a lot of stuff," Braunstein said. "He's a historical person. He certainly has left his mark here on Earth and had many, many friends." Paul had been a dominant force in the music business since World War Two. He and wife Mary Ford enjoyed a string of hits in the 1940s and 1950s that included "Mockin' Bird Hill" and "How High the Moon." A passionate tinkerer, he created one of the first solid-body electric guitars in 1941, and went on to pioneer multi-track recording.

Paul played a key role in the birth of rock 'n' roll in the early 1950s when he teamed up with Gibson Guitar Corp. to help design a sleek model that bears his name. An instant success, its basic structure has barely changed over the decades. Despite arthritis and hearing problems, Paul remained an indefatigable musician, playing regularly at a New York jazz club into his 90s. Paul is survived by three sons, a daughter and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.