100th Birthday of Les Paul Celebration

The Les Paul Foundation announces the kick-off event to the year-long celebration Les Paul's 100th Birthday.

100th Birthday of Les Paul

To mark the official start of the celebration, the foundation is hosting a star-studded celebration in the famous Time Square, New York on June 9, 2015 - a century after Lester William Polsfuss was born into this world.

According to an official of the Les Paul Foundation, this upcoming kick-off event will feature a number of popular artists, including Neal Schon of Journey, Joan Jett, Steve Miller and many others.

Even Ibanez endorser Joe Satriani will be present in this event, along with other artists and guitarists who are going to be paying their tribute to Les Paul. More musical acts that will be taking part in the celebration will be announced in the coming weeks.

Aside from the star-studded musical launch event in New York, the Les Paul 100th Anniversary plan includes a tribute concert in New York city, a new interactive website, new merchandise, media promotions, a national tour called "Les Paul's Big Sound Experience" and several re-releases of Les Paul's music. The foundation also plans some interesting activities like the "Pledge to Invent" PSA campaign to encourage the creativity of today's youth and educational grants.

The foundation provided a brief background and story of the life and legacy of Les Paul:

"Les Paul was the father of the solid body electric guitar - the inventor of multitrack recording, overdubbing (also known as sound on sound), delay effects, electronic echo and many other recording innovations that today’s recording artists use every day. Musicians from every genre have credited Les Paul for their careers. Numerous museum exhibits and awards continue to celebrate the innovations and accomplishments of Les Paul.

Known also as the “Father of the Solid Body Electric Guitar,” “The Wizard of Waukesha,” “Rhubarb Red,” “The Father of Modern Music,” and others, Les Paul’s curiosity about sound began at a very young age. Contemporary artists like Slash, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Joan Jett, Jimi Hendrix and many others have paid homage to Les Paul throughout their careers.

100th Birthday of Les Paul

Les Paul was born Lester William Polsfuss in Waukesha, Wisconsin. At the age of eight he began playing the harmonica. He tried the piano and banjo but switched to the guitar. It was during that time that he invented a neck-worn harmonica holder which allowed him to play both sides of the harmonica hands-free while accompanying the guitar. Paul’s interest in musical instruments didn’t stop there. He also loved modifying them. At the age of nine he built his first crystal radio. While in Junior High he built the harmonica holder out of a wire coat hanger. He began his work with the solid body guitar as a teen when he filled his acoustic guitar with rags, socks and a tablecloth and eventually with Plaster of Paris. While in high school he made his first solid body electric guitar using a piece of rail from a nearby train line. Years later the rail guitar evolved into Les’ famous 4 x 4 piece of pine that he wired as a guitar and dubbed “The Log.” It was the basis for the first solid-body electric guitar that changed the face of music.

Les Paul’s influence would go on to extend beyond the guitar. Paul’s good friend and influence Bing Crosby, who he performed with, encouraged him to build a recording studio which Paul did in his Hollywood garage when he was 30 years old. This is where he developed industry changing recording techniques. His breakthrough came in 1948 with a recording of the song “Lover” which used a variety of tracks and introduced his many new recording techniques. Les Paul once again changed the face of music with the birth of multi-track recording.

In 1949 Les married Mary Ford and began producing hits with her such as “How High the Moon” and “The World is Waiting for the Sunrise.” They had their own radio show and later a hit television show called “Les Paul and Mary Ford at Home.” Together they recorded dozens of hit songs all of which were recorded using recording techniques Les Paul invented in his studio. Those hits included “Mockin Bird Hill” (#3 1951) and Vaya Con Dios (#1, 1953). Paul also had instrumental hits on his own including “Nola”(#9, 1950), “Whispering” (#6, 1952) and “Meet Mister Callaghan” (#5,1952). In the 1960s Paul formed an agreement with the Gibson guitar company and the famous Les Paul guitar went into production becoming one of the best known guitars of all time. Few can deny that Les Paul remains an American institution."

Music Industry Executive Phil Quartararo had an interesting comment, "The players, the great musicians, the people we revere in our industry…they know every time they pick up an electric guitar why we have the electric guitar. They know every time they sit down in a studio at a mixing board, why that board exists. I can assure you that the people in this industry don’t go through a day in their life in this business without being touched by something Les Paul did, said, played or invented."

To kick off the opening event, June 9 will now be officially labeled as Les Paul Day in New York, Nashville, Tennessee and Les' hometown Waukesha, Wisconsin. The 100th birthday party for Les Paul will take place at the Hard Rock Cafe New York, and will begin with a red carpet arrival at 6pm, followed by a special ticketed musical event.

The guests of the June 9th special event will witness the launch of the national PSA campaign “Pledge to Invent”, which will be broadcast on screens throughout the venue. The PSA campaign features special messages from Slash, Sammy Hagar, Steve Miller, HEART’s Nancy Wilson, Neal Schon, Joe Satriani, Grateful Dead founding member Bob Weir, Richie Sambora and other friends of Les Paul.

There's so much more happening on this special event, for more information you can visit Les-Paul.com.

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