The Original Guitar Hero
Les Paul, who died Thursday at 94, invented the electric guitar—and changed popular music forever. WATCH VIDEO of Paul jamming, as well as immortal riffs from rockers Jimmy Page and Slash on Les Paul guitars.
World Is Waiting for Sunshine
It’s a far cry from “Whole Lotta Love,” but here’s Paul and his second wife, Mary Ford, performing one of their hits from the early 1950s. Check out Paul’s solo about one minute in.
Les Paul Schools Young Rocker in Coors Commercial
In 1997, Paul appeared in this charming commercial for Coors. You have to love this moment. Young rocker: “What’s your name?” Les Paul: “It’s on your guitar.”
Led Zeppelin: Whole Lotta Love
Does it get any better than this? Here’s Jimmy Page, making immortal riffs on a Les Paul Gibson, which he began using on Led Zeppelin II.
The Who: Won’t Get Fooled Again
The Who’s Pete Townshend didn’t always use a Les Paul guitar, but made the switch to the Gibson Les Paul Deluxe in 1971.
Sex Pistols: God Save the Queen
Unlike the more famous Sid Vicious, Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones actually had musical talent, which he put to use on a Gibson Les Paul he covered with pinup stickers.
Guns N’ Roses: Sweet Child o’ Mine
It’s hard to think of any chords more famous than the ones that open “Sweet Child o’ Mine.” They were played by Slash, of course, who learned his trade on a Les Paul guitar and used it on Appetite for Destruction.
Monday Nights with Les Paul
Les Paul was a Monday night regular at the New York City club Iridium for the final years of his life. Here’s an excerpt of him performing, taken from the documentary Les Paul, Chasing Sound.