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Musician and Inventor Les Paul

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Musician and Inventor Les Paul

Music Interviews

Musician and Inventor Les Paul

Musician and Inventor Les Paul

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4697875/4697876" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Paul performing in New York's Iridium Jazz Club. Jemal Countess / WireImage hide caption

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Jemal Countess / WireImage

He turned 90 years old on June 8, and he is still performing and recording. He's collaborated with Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Sting — among others — on a new album to be released later this summer. Later this month he will be saluted at a birthday celebration concert at Carnegie Hall.

Paul shaped much of the sound of rock and roll. He invented the electric pickup, the device that made the electric guitar possible. He made the first multi-track recorder, and his innovations established the recording studio itself as a legitimate musical instrument. Gibson has sold guitars designed by Les Paul since the early '50s.

Paul had many top 40 hits in the '50s and his own TV show with his late wife, singer Mary Ford. This interview was originally broadcast on June 17, 1992.