One of my favorite things about Arnie Palmer occurs when he enters a hospitality establishment and orders an Arnie Palmer. Whether the barkeep recognizes Arnie or not -- I have seen it both ways -- he gets what he ordered, usually as a prelude to more lively liquids.
Similarly, I have wondered what it might be like for Les Paul to wander into any guitar shop -- as he could have any day during the past five decades -- and asked someone to hand him a Les Paul for a spin.
Les Paul, master and pioneer of the solid-body electric guitar, died today, at 94, seven decades after he built an electric guitar from a 4-by-4 (and thereby precipitated rock 'n' roll), six decades after he designed Gibson's Les Paul, five decades after devising seminal recording methods.
Lester Polsfuss' mother once received a note from a music teacher: "Your boy, Lester, will never learn music." Lester not only learned it, he changed it, and I -- despite being a confirmed Fender man, Telecaster and Music Master in particular -- consider myself a beneficiary of his genius and his effort.
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