The AP is reporting that the 94-year-old guitar legend Les Paul has died, from complications related to pneumonia. He spent his last hours surrounded by family and friends at White Plains Hospital. Paul was already a very successful musician when Gibson designed a guitar, according to his specs, that would eventually become arguably the most famous rock n roll instrument of all time. The Les Paul model was introduced in 1952, and since then Paul had been inextricably linked to the guitar. But he never stopped performing — his frequent Monday night stands at Iridium have been a staple of this paper’s music listing section since time immemorial — even late in life, when he was forced to rely on just two arthritic fingers. As recently as three years ago Paul was winning Grammys; Les Paul & Friends: American Made World Played pulled down two in 2006. His addition to the long roster of 2009’s Summer of Death is not welcome.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 13, 2009