Saturday, August 15, 2009

Les Paul R.I.P

What to say about the inventor of multi-tracking and the Gibson Les Paul that Lenny Kaye hasn’t already? Shut up and listen, I guess. Here he is performing “How High the Moon” with his wife Mary Ford:

I used to play a Gibson Les Paul gold-top for a while in the 80s. It belonged to my friend Sina’s brother who was back in Samoa so she let me borrow it without him knowing. I couldn’t play it very well but at least I looked like a rock star. Or maybe just like someone who had a cool guitar. At the time Dave McArtney from Hello Sailor played a black Les Paul: I basically learned how to play by sitting in front of him and his amp at the Globe Tavern in Auckland.

The Fender Stratocaster eventually took over as the dominant rock guitar – maybe it was Hendrix at Woodstock, maybe it was Eric Clapton – but for a while the Les Paul ruled. Here are three reasons why.

1. Peter Green of the original Fleetwood Mac plays one on “Oh Well” at the BBC in 1969:

2. Gary Moore plays one at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1990. It may even be the same one as in the Green clip. Moore is/was a friend of his and does own it:

3. And now for something completely different: Robert Fripp , a couple of tape recorders and a lovely Dorset accent, probably in 1979. That’s him playing the brilliant guitar on David Bowie’s “Heroes”, which if you ask me is right up there with “Dancing Queen” as pop perfection. This isn’t, but I still like it:

1 comment:

Bob Smith said...

Yes, a minute's noise please for Les Paul.

And yes, Dave McArtney. Boy could he play guitar.