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Les Paul  

Les Paul was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.
Last Updated: Apr 8, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Les Paul Materials in the Catalog

Click here to find all materials relating to Les Paul in our online catalog.

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Our catalog has a subject category for "Inductee." If you enter this term in the search box and choose "Subject" in the dropdown box, you will retrieve information on our resources that are related to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees.

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    These research databases can be accessed within the Library and Archives.

    • American Song
      Hear and feel the music from America's past, including Motown, Jimi Hendrix, the Mamas and the Papas, and other artists from the rock era. There are songs by and about American Indians, miners, immigrants, slaves, children, pioneers, and cowboys; songs of Civil Rights, political campaigns, the Revolutionary War, and the Civil War; and every great American genre is here—from folk and blues to country, gospel, and rock.
    • ArchiveGrid
      ArchiveGrid connects you with primary source material held in archives, special collections, and manuscript collections around the world. You will find historical documents, personal papers, family histories, and more.
    • International Index to Music Periodicals
      This database provides indexing and abstracts for several hundred international music periodicals from over 20 countries, plus full text for more than 140 of the indexed journals. The database currently includes over 770,000 records, the majority from the most recent ten years of publication.
    • Rock's Back Pages
      Rock’s Backpages is the largest database of rock journalism online, featuring 17,000+ articles on numerous artists. The archive draws on numerous publications from Creem and Trouser Press to Rolling Stone, and from New Musical Express and MelodyMaker to MOJO. Rock's Backpages also features a library of over 100 audio interviews.


    Below are a few of the books relating to Les Paul that are available for use in the Library Reading Room.

    Cover Art
    The Early Years of the Les Paul Legacy - Robb Lawrence
    Call Number: ML1015.G9 L39 2008
    Journey through the career of musical giant, milestone guitarist, and recording innovator Les Paul, and marvel at the world of cutting-edge guitar design! This book emerged out of years of research, interviews, extensive vintage archives (including original Les Paul/Mary Ford articles, press photos, music and recordings), and gorgeous original photography. Exclusive interviews with Les Paul, as well as Michael Bloomfield and Jeff Beck. A beautiful and insightful book on a legendary inventor, musician and his partnership with Gibson to make the world's most-cherished electric guitar.

    Cover Art
    The Gibson Les Paul Book - Tony Bacon; Paul Day
    Call Number: ML1015.G9 B33G53 1993
    The Les Paul guitar has been the instrument of choice for many of the world's top rock guitarists since its introduction in 1952. This book documents the instrument's history and development. The guitars are discussed within the context of both popular music and the international guitar market. All models are covered, and the appendix includes a comprehensive reference section listing information needed to identify and date each model.

    Cover Art
    Les Paul - Bob Jacobson
    This addition to the Badger Biographies series for young readers tells the story of Les Paul, the legendary “Wizard of Waukesha,” who pioneered the solid body electric guitar, multi-track recording, and many other musical inventions. Fascinated since boyhood with musical technology, the young Les moved from experimenting with his mother’s player piano and phonograph to developing his own amplifier and tinkering with crystal radios.

    Cover Art
    Les Paul: In His Own Words - Les Paul; Michael Cochran
    Call Number: ML420.H46 H466 2012
    At thirteen, he took the tone arm from his father's phonograph, jammed the heavy needle into the top of his five-dollar guitar, and filled it with Plaster of Paris to quell feedback. The guitar didn't survive, but his idea worked, essentially creating the first solid-body electric guitar. Les Paul went on to alter guitars in his quest to create the perfect sound, making one breakthrough after another along the way. Taken together, the enduring influence of his unique contributions to recording technology, instrument design, and American popular music are unsurpassed.

    Cover Art
    Les Paul Tribute at Ryman Auditorium - Gibson / photography by Shahar Azran
    Call Number: ML419.P385 A97 2009
    Photos of the Les Paul tribute concert, taken by photographer Shahar Zaran. Each photo is identified with a jpg number, but it does not include any text.


    Song Books

    These books include the music for songs written or recorded by Les Paul and his wife, Mary Ford.

    Cover Art
    The Jazz Me Blues - Tom Delaney
    Call Number: M1630.18.P385 J29 1948
    Recorded by Les Paul of Les Paul and Mary Ford on Capitol Records no. 1825.

    Cover Art
    Les Paul Song Folio - Les Paul
    Call Number: M1630.18.P385 L47 1951
    For voice and piano; includes chord symbols and ukulele chord diagrams.



    These are sound recordings of Les Paul available at the Library and Archives.

    Cover Art
    The Legend & The Legacy - Les Paul
    Call Number: CDB PAUL LEGE 1991
    This is classic material. Four CDs loaded with one song after another of magical guitar playing. The sound is terrific, and Mary Ford adds great vocals to many of the cuts, in addition to many instrumentals. Spans 1948-1957 and includes some portions of the Les Paul Radio Show with songs and dialogue between Les and Mary. The variety of techniques Les Paul invented that are still used today (such as multi-tracking) are on display in this set of music.

    Cover Art
    Riffin': the Decca, JATP, Keynote, and Mercury Recordings - Nat King Cole & Friends
    Call Number: BOX COLE-N RIFF 2010
    Nat was also the pianist for Norman Granz's first Jazz At The Philharmonic (JATP) concerts, trading solos with the future legend Les Paul and others in the summer of '44 - while he's otherwise a headlining superstar - and those rousing live jam sessions make up Disc 2.



    This is a video recording with Les Paul available at the Library and Archives.

    Cover Art
    Tom Dowd & The Language of Music - Directed & produced by Mark Moormann; producers, Scott L. Gordon, Mark Hunt
    Call Number: DVD DOWD TOM 2003
    Profiles the life and work of music producer/recording engineer Tom Dowd. Featuring music and appearances by Les Paul, Eric Clapton, John Coltrane, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Ornette Coleman, and other musical luminaries.


    Les Paul on YouTube

    Les Paul & Mary Ford Show: World Is Waiting For The Sunrise Les Paul - Chasing Sound!

    Archival Collections

    New to Archives? Check out:

    Archival collections are described in Finding Aids that provide you with historical and organizational information on a collection, subject headings that tie it to other library and archival materials, and an inventory to pinpoint what you need. The detail of inventories vary. Search finding aids via the catalog.

    There are individual items of interest on Les Paul in the following:

    There are additional materials related to Les Paul in the following:

    • ARC-0126 Concert Photographs of Les Paul
      Consists of two compact discs of images from one of Paul's last live concerts at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City on March 25, 2009, where Paul played nearly every week almost up to the end of his life.
    • ARC-0171 Les Paul Interview
      Consists of one DVD containing a 62-minute interview with Les Paul on The Joey Reynolds Show, a nationally syndicated radio program hosted by former Top 40 radio personality Joey Reynolds. The footage was photographed and edited by Sandi Bachom.
    • ARC-0326 Les Paul Papers
      Spans the years 1925 to 2008. Comprised of material related to the lives, careers, invention, and artistry of Les Paul and Mary Ford. The bulk of the collection consists of publicity materials, including advertisements; newspaper and magazine clippings; newsletters and dailies; handbills; press kits; press releases; and programs. The Papers also contain academic papers on Paul, biographical information, brochures, catalogs, chord sheets, contracts, copyright documents, correspondence, hit charts, lyrics, music arrangements and manuscripts, Paul's passport, photographs, publications, record covers, recording notes, royalty reports, scrapbooks, scripts, set lists, sheet music, stage design drawings, and miscellaneous materials.
    • Third Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Dinner
      Profiles Hall of Fame inductees for 1988, including Les Paul, and discusses the development of music scenes and genres in this companion to the awards ceremony.

    In the Museum-Les Paul

    This video is from the Rock Hall YouTube channel. 


    In the Museum-The Les Paul Guitar

    This video is from the Rock Hall YouTube channel. 


    More Rock Hall Video

    These are video recordings created by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Education Department for the 2008 American Music Masters celebrations honoring Les Paul. These videos are only available at the Library and Archives.

    American Music Masters. Les Paul. Henry Juszkiewicz lecture. Ace Frehley interview. Part 1.

    American Music Masters. Les Paul. Henry Juszkiewicz lecture. Ace Frehley interview. Part 2.
    In Part 1 of this video, CEO and Chairman of Gibson Guitar Corporation Henry Juszkiewicz discusses the genesis and basic history of the Gibson Guitar Corporation, Orville Gibson, and Les Paul's contributions as an innovator. In Part 2, Ace Frehley discusses using Gibson guitars, and is joined by Juszkiewicz near the end of the program.

    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum | Library and Archives
    2809 Woodland Avenue | Cleveland, OH 44115 | 216.515.1956 |

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