Friday, August 12, 2011

Led Zeppelin and Les Paul

In the rock music world, August 12 is a significant date for two connected, yet contrasting, reasons: The birth of the mighty Led Zeppelin in 1968, and the passing of the legendary guitarist Les Paul in 2009. [Edit: Some sources state the date of Les Paul's death as being August 13, 2009. Even if the two events are a day apart, which they may be, I think they are significant enough to justify this post.]

The members of Led Zeppelin played together for the first time on August 12, 1968. According to the band, this took place in a tiny London rehearsal room where they played Train Kept A-Rollin'. Hear Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham performing the song less a year later at the Newport Jazz Festival:

This brings me to the man whose name is synonymous with that of Jimmy Page's main guitar: Les Paul.

Les Paul was an American jazz and country guitarist, songwriter and inventor. He was a pioneer in the development of the solid-body electric guitar which made the sound of rock and roll possible. He is credited with many recording innovations. Although he was not the first to use the technique, his early experiments with overdubbing (also known as sound on sound), delay effects such as tape delay, phasing effects and multitrack recording were among the first to attract widespread attention.

His innovative talents extended into his playing style, including licks, trills, chording sequences, fretting techniques and timing, which set him apart from his contemporaries and inspired many guitarists of the present day. He recorded with his wife Mary Ford in the 1950s, and they sold millions of records.

Here he is performing Caravan in 1991:

Sadly, Les Paul left this world on August 12, 2009. However, his influence in rock music reaches far and wide, and still lives on through his namesake guitars, innovations, and music.

Led Zeppelin and Les Paul - A Bit Of Groovy times two.

Sources for this post:

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