Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009

Les Paul

The first time I heard Les Paul's music, I was just a kid — maybe 4 years old. My mother was a DJ, and her copy of How High the Moon is the first record I remember. He may have turned me on to guitar for all I know. When I was older, I came to appreciate him as a guitar player — he was so nimble. As I learned more about him, I realized that his real dynamic interest was in electronics and recording. The Gibson Les Paul was such a great guitar. It was very heavy — you could put your back out just playing it — but the sound was unique. The minute you heard one, you could just tell it was different. Without Les' guitar, rock 'n' roll would be completely different. His influence was gigantic. I took my mother to see him at the Iridium club in New York once. They were both about 85 years old at the time, and when I introduced them, he proposed to her. She said, "It's a bit late for that now." Les was a jolly old chap, very polite and funny. He had some great dressing-room jokes that I can't retell here. I miss him terribly.

—Keith Richards

Richards is a founding member of the Rolling Stones