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Kitty Dunn

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Les Paul is 94!

lespaul21Happy Birthday to Les Paul! The inventor of the solid body electric guitar is still alive and well, and probably has more working brain cells at the age of 94 than you and I ever did. I was lucky enough to meet Les Paul in 2004 when he was in Madison to get a lifetime achievement award from the Wisconsin School Music Association. It was quite a big shindig. Mike and I sat at a table right near the front, with other dignitaries including the Superintendent of Public Instruction right next to us. Both Ben Sidran and Steve Miller spoke at the dinner. Miller's speech was great..he's known Les Paul his whole life because he spent his early years in Milwaukee, and Les Paul and Mary Ford stood up for his parents when they got married! Wouldn't it be cool to be able to say that Les Paul taught you your first chords on the guitar? Well Steve Miller says that and means it!  Others who were in the crowd included Ben Sidran and members of Garbage. (Side note: I was too nervous to introduce myself to Butch Vig, but went right up to Steve Miller and shook his hand!) My boyfriend Mike (who's a guitar player)  had Les autograph an old Les Paul Mary Ford album, as well as a copy of Guitar Player Magazine from the 1970's with Les's picture on the front. He wrote "Keep on pickin'!" One of the highlights of that evening had to be when Les Paul got up on stage and played a song with Steve Miller, and members of Madison's very own Gomers.  Les Paul's son was his handler  for the night..he was probably in his 70s and walked with a cane. Les Paul walked unassisted and got right up on stage, probably the same way he'd been doing it since he was called "Rhubarb Red" back in the old days. He still plays live once a week at a jazz club in New York City. Check him out in this clip from a fantastic documentary called "Chasing Sound."

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06/09/2009 9:47AM
Les Paul is 94!
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06/09/2009 10:18AM
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