Here are some highlights from his life and career:
Les and his Mother
Lester William Polfuss
Father George Polfuss
1915 - Lester William Polsfuss is born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on June 9.
1927 - Les gets his first guitar from the Sears & Roebuck catalog.
1932 - Les drops out of high school to join Sunny Joe Wolverton in Saint Louis.
1934 - Les changes his stage name from Rhubarb Red to Les Paul.
1938 - Les moves to New York City and joins Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians on NBC radio.
1941 - Les invents the “log,” his first solid-body electric guitar. Later that year he is badly injured
when he receives an electric shock in his studio.
1943 - Les moves to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of working with Bing Crosby.
1945 - Les meets Colleen Summers (who is later known as Mary Ford).
1947 - Les introduces multi-tracking to the world with the release of “Lover.”
1948 - Les is badly injured when his car skids off a bridge in a snowstorm on US Route 66.
1949 - Les marries singer Mary Ford.
1950 - The Les Paul Show, featuring Les and Mary, debuts on NBC Radio.
1951 - “How High the Moon” becomes a number one hit.
1952 - Gibson Guitar Company introduces the Les Paul goldtop solid-body electric guitar.
1952 - Les and Mary move to New Jersey and start making the TV series Les Paul and Mary Ford
at Home, which debuts in October 1953.
1953 - “Vaya Con Dios” becomes a number one hit.
1953 - Ampex produces the first 8-track tape recorder, based on Les’s design.
1957 - The first Ampex 8-track recorder, installed in Les Paul's home studio.
1964 - Les and Mary divorce.
1965 - Les retires from performing.
1972 - Les comes out of retirement when he fills in for a friend at a New York nightclub.
1975 - Les performs at Carnegie Hall.
1976 - Les and Chet Atkins release the album Chester and Lester, which wins a Grammy Award for
Best Country Instrumental Performance.
1980 - Les has heart bypass surgery.
1983 - Les receives the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
1984 - Les begins a regular Monday night gig at Fat Tuesday’s.
1988 - Les is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
1996 - Les begins a regular Monday night gig at iridium after Fat tuesday’s closes.
2001 - Les receives a Technical Grammy.
2005 - Les is inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and
the Grammy Hall of Fame.
2005 - Les records Les Paul & Friends, his first album in 30 years. He receives Grammy awards for
2 of its songs including Best Pop Instrumental Performance for “Caravan” and Best Rock
Instrumental for “69 Freedom Special.”
2007 - Les receives the National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush.
2008 - Les Paul’s House of Sound exhibit opens at Discovery world in Milwaukee.
Born Above His Fathers Garage
The House He Was Raised In
A Les Paul Quote
* IF THERE IS A HEAVEN ON EARTH *