Aside from being one of the greatest guitar players of all time, especially with the mechanics of "picking", some people are still not aware that it was Les Paul who invented the solid-body electric guitar, the art of multi-tracking and up-close miking, over-dubbing, and much more.
His earliest amplified guitar came about when, as he said, he "jabbed a phonograph pickup into the top of a guitar" and thus created his first public address system. His numerous experiments with electricity and amplification, most pertaining to music, is now legendary.
Les Paul had married Mary Ford when the duo (she singing, he playing) had hit after hit during the 1950s. Utilizing his multi-tracking and over-dubbing techniques, several voices of Mary Ford can be heard on the records.
He was involved in a hapless automobile accident in which he permanently crippled his arm. When asked about that, he replied, "Well, I was a mess, laying in a river in Chandler, Oklahoma. They finally got me into a hospital and put me together. It came down, after they got my back, six ribs, a shoulder, my pelvis, the spleen, a broken leg, and a broken arm, everything seemed to go together except the broken arm. They had to put a piece of my leg into my arm. They told me it would have to be in a fixed position. `Where would you like it aimed', the doctor asked. I said, `Aim it at my navel'. (laughing) I didn't realize that my navel was a little lower than where you hold a guitar. So I always have to bring one shoulder up when I play the guitar. But it is fixed in that position."
Les Paul and Mary Ford will always be remembered for those hit records they made, but the music history books will have to list all the monumental accomplishments of this great man and how he singlehandedly changed popular music forever by inventing the solid-body electric guitar.
Although he won many awards during his lifetime, he said his proudest moment was when he was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall Of Fame in 2005.
He performed live on a weekly basis right up to his death which took place on August 13, 2009 at a White Plains, NY hospital. This incredibly talented man was 94.