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Les Paul R.I.P.

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Pete Marsh - BBC Music Interactive | 11:54 UK time, Friday, 14 August 2009

Tributes have been pouring in to the legendary Les Paul, who died yesterday. Mr Paul was probably best known for designing the guitar that bore his name (this BBC News gallery shows just a few of the hundreds of gurning rock star types who've played them), but he was also a crucially important figure in the history of recording, being one of the first to experiment with the dark art of multi-tracking. This was something that Bob Harris touched on in his tribute on this morning's Today programme, and can be best heard in Paul's work with his wife Mary Ford (here's some pretty wonderful footage from Youtube).

Even though his hit-making years were long behind him (Les and Mary chalked up an impressive 16 top ten hits between 1950 and 1954) and worsening arthritis had forced him to relearn how to play the instrument a number of times, Les continued to play regular jazz gigs at New York's Iridium club until two months ago. Last year, the BBC caught up with him to film him in action for Imagine - The Story of the Guitar.

I wonder if Slash will be as cool when he gets to that age?

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