A look back at Les Paul for his 100th birthday

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A Look Back at Les Paul for His 100th Birthday

He's regarded as one of the most influential and innovative musicians of all-time: Tuesday, June 9 would've been the 100th birthday of Les Paul.

The multi-faceted musician was a gifted jazz, country and blues guitarist and songwriter but it was his craftsmanship off the stage that propelled him to legendary status.

"Love to play, love to entertain, love to make people laugh," Les Paul said.

Les Paul was a pioneer of the solid-body guitar, or electric guitar, which, of course, produced one of the most identifiable sounds in music. Les Paul designed his model back in 1941.

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A look back at Les Paul for his 100th birthday
Les Paul and his wife, Mary Ford, strum their guitars on Nov. 5, 1951 at an unknown location. (AP Photo)
Les Paul repairs one of the many control boards in the control room at his Oakland, N.J., home December 20, 1953 where he and his wife, Mary Ford, make the recordings which have brought them the nickname of "Mr. and Mrs. Sound". This knickname comes from their technique, developed by Les, of playing the guitar while Mary sings, on multiple recordings which they sound like a whole band and chorus. Les, self trained in electronics, does all his own work. (AP Photo/Dan Grossi)
Mary Ford and Les Paul strum In the television studio which is their workroom at their Oakland, NJ, home December 20, 1953. Mary sings softly as they listen to one of their records to determine whether it should have had more guitar playing. They like to check their records on juke boxes to hear how they sound to some of the listeners. Their multiple recording sound has sold millions of records. They have become popular through the technique of making the two of them sound like a band and chorus, through the multiple recording technique perfected by Paul. (AP Photo/Dan Grossi)
Famed American recording stars, vocalist Mary Ford and guitarist Les Paul , at Radio Free Europe microphone in Munich, Germany during Jan 5, 1955 during stopover to record interview for Iron Curtain listeners. The popular pair, currently touring Europe, are rated as two of the most well known American entertainers by youngsters in Communist ruled Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. (AP Photo)
Les Paul and Mary Ford, famous U.S. jazz musicians arrive at Frankfurt Airport, Jan. 3, 1963, to start a tour throughout Germany where they will play for U.S. troops. Here Paul is pictured playing a song on his guitar for the flight attendant of his plane which brought the team to Frankfurt. At left is his wife, Mary Ford; at right in rear is son Gene Paul and left rear is technician Earl Davis. (AP Photo/Walter Lindlar)
FILE - In this Feb. 19, 1977 file photo, Les Paul, right, and Chet Atkins, left, are presented Grammies by Dolly Parton and Freddie Fender, second from right, at 19th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Paul, 94, the guitarist and inventor who changed the course of music with the electric guitar and multitrack recording and had a string of hits, died, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009 in White Plains, N.Y., according to Gibson Guitar. (AP Photo/George Brich, file)
FILE - In this May 3, 1988 file photo, Paul McCartney, right, tries out a custom-made left handed "Les Paul Lite" guitar presented to him by designer, Les Paul, left, in New York. Paul, 94, the guitarist and inventor who changed the course of music with the electric guitar and multitrack recording and had a string of hits, died, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009 in White Plains, N.Y., according to Gibson Guitar. (AP Photo, file)
Music legends Les Paul, 88, left, and B.B. King, 77, put their heads together during a jam session at the third anniversary celebration of the B.B. King Blues Club and Grill in New York's Times Square, Tuesday night June 17, 2003. Paul holds King's signature "Lucille" guitar, which he played.(AP Photo/Richard Drew)
FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2007 file photo, guitar legend Les Paul performs at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York. Paul is getting a new granite memorial to mark his gravesite in southeast Wisconsin. His family and friends are planning a public dedication ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011, at his grave at Prairie Home Cemetery in Waukesha, Wis. (AP Photo/ Colin Archer, File)

"You really can't take a deep look at guitars without starting and looking at Les Paul. ... You wouldn't get that power, electricity, raw energy that you get out of an electric guitar if it wasn't for Les Paul," Todd Mesek, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, said.

In the 1950s, Les Paul joined with guitar maker Gibson to produce the Gibson Les Paul guitar, an iconic electric guitar model later played by legends such as Jimmy Page, Bob Marley and Eric Clapton.

Les Paul was also a pioneer for other innovations in the music industry outside of instruments. He was one of the earlier adopters of revolutionary producing techniques like tape delay, overdubbing and multi-track recording.

Les Paul was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. And his contributions to music will be recognized once again later this week.

The Mahwah Museum in Mahwah, New Jersey, where he spent a good portion of his life, is celebrating Les Paul's 100th birthday with a special performances dedicated to the music legend. The event runs from June 12th to the 14th.

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