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Les Paul

Musician and Inventor

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Les Paul Biography


Chester & Lester/Guitar Monsters
Audio CD (October 27, 1998)

The Complete Decca Trios -- Plus (1936- 1947)
Audio CD (November 18, 1997)

The Guitar Artistry of Les Paul
Audio CD (June 8, 1993)

V-Disc Recordings
Audio CD (June 22, 1999) 

les paul

Les Paul is a unique blend of musician and inventor. His performing career started at the age of 13 and by the early 1950s he was the greatest jazz guitarist of his generation. The Les Paul Trio, which included his talented wife Mary Ford, produced such hits as "Tennessee Waltz," "Mockin' Bird Hill," "How High The Moon," and "Vaya Con Dios." He also won a 1977 Grammy with Chet Atkins for the album Chester and Lester.

As an inventor, Mr. Paul's breakthrough creation of the solid-body electric guitar paved the way for electric music made the sound of rock and roll possible. In 1953 while performing with Bing Crosby, he perfected the first muli-track recording machine, allowing separate lines of instrumental music and vocals to be blended together. His many recording innovations--including sound-on-sound, overdubbing, reverb effects, and multi-tracking--greatly accelerated the advancement of studio recording.

Interviewing Mr. Paul is Marc Pachter, Special Counselor to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Mr. Pachter is a cultural historian with a special interest in the art of biography. He has interviewed many of the distinguished artists, historians and scientists who have been honored here at the Smithsonian.

This interview, recorded live at the Smithsonian Institution, was part of a special program entitled Portraits of Invention, sponsored by the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation and by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

As a tribute to Mr. Paul's enormous contributions to the field of music, he was presented with the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal at the end of the program.

This program was recorded November 13, 1997 at the Smithsonian Institution.



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