Happy 100th Birthday to Les Paul – June 9, 2015

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Happy 100th Birthday to Les Paul (June 9, 1915 – August 12, 2009).  Les Paul was an American jazz, country and blues guitarist, songwriter, luthier and inventor. He was one of the pioneers of the solid-body electric guitar, which made the sound of rock and roll possible. Les taught himself how to play guitar and while he is mainly known for rock music he had an early career in country music. 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.

Among his many honors, Paul is one of a handful of artists with a permanent, stand-alone exhibit in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is prominently named by the music museum on its website as an “architect” and a “key inductee” along with Sam Phillips and Alan Freed. Les Paul is the only person to be included in both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Blues Legend B.B. King Dies At 89!

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Blues legend B.B. King has died in Las Vegas at age 89, his lawyer says.  Attorney Brent Bryson stated that King died peacefully in his sleep at 9:40 p.m. PDT Thursday at his home in Las Vegas.  The one-time farmhand brought new fans to the blues and influenced a generation of musicians with his heartfelt vocals and soaring guitar on songs such as “The Thrill Is Gone.”

King sold millions of records worldwide and was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  King played a Gibson guitar that he affectionately called Lucille and was not only the undisputed king of the blues but a mentor to scores of guitarists including Eric Clapton.  He was awarded his 15th Grammy in 2009 in the traditional blues album category for “One Kind Favor.”