News and Observations from Wapella, Illinois: Home of the Wildcats.

Facebook Activity for Wapella

Friday, August 14, 2009

RIP Les Paul 1915-2009

Les Paul, ace guitarist, has died at age 94.

I'd call him the Master of the Telecaster, but he played a Gibson, well, he didn't just play a Gibson, he invented most of the important parts of the Gibson, resulting in the Gibson Les Paul. Sort of like a Sam Browne Belt or a Ralph Lauren Polo, it took a full name, in this case Les Paul to let on to the genius of this man and his instrument.

Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Ace Frehely, and Peter Frampton all swore by it. Chuck Berry, BB King, Paul McCartney and George Harrison, Eddie Van Halen, Keith Richards and about 25% of the market used one most of the time. But Les not only could do the engineering work, he could also play in a variety of styles enjoyed by everyone from fans of music raning from Big Band, to Country and Western, and Heavy Metal. Jimmy Page shares the rare distintion of having a double named guitar manufactured, the Gibson Les Paul Jimmy Page, apt for its double necked force.

Still playing in a jazz club in New York City only a few weeks ago, Les enjoyed the audience much like the audience enjoyed his music. At 94, Les had seen a garage industry become an international force, and established a universal figure for popular music.

RIP Les Paul.


Anonymous said...

With all this rock and roll talk going on along with the demise of Les Paul, the introduction of Beatles Guitar Hero, 2 hour Woodstock retrospectives on NPR and PBS, I think we need a local twist: the Heyworth Rock Festival, ca 1971?

Were Hells' Angels present for security? How about the free love?, Did not the cowbell banging Blue Oyster Cult highlight the festivity? Which local celebrities and readers attended with gusto?

EEP said...

Dennis Underwood would be the man to talk to re: Heyworth Fest. I've talked with him about it a couple times.

Not sure about security, but Dennis said the El Diablos and a few other larger/notorious biker gangs were there in force. Don't think many Hell's Angels or Hunter S. showed though.

Dennis' Dad ran a leather-goods stand/shop. He was young at the time and worked there and said bikers stopped at the stand and had wristbands, etc, made and were pretty cool people in general.

There also was/is a documentary about the fest out there, but I've forgotten the title. Dennis contributed some stuff to it, though, I think.

Dallas-based Wildcat said...

The Incident at Kickapoo Creek

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the first film to be shown at Sonny's Wapella Film Festival.

C. deMille

EEP said...

The kick-off to said film fest is actually Night Eyes 3 (barely edging out Night Eyes 2.)

Anonymous said...

Wapella was the jumping off spot or remote parking lot for a lot of those attending the Heyworth Fest. They parked in Wapella and then walked to Heyworth or caught rides. Working in Bloomington at the time, I had to detour around Heyworth via country roads to get to work.

Anonymous said...

So we start with Night Eyes night?

CB DeMille

sempleman said...

Actually the Incident at Kickapoo Creek was held Memorial Day weekend 1970...meaning the 40th anniversary is coming up in 2010.
I think it was the Grim Reapers who were on-site. The movie made by RC Raycraft has yet to be released on any sort of tape or DVD format but it was shown at the Princess Theatre in LeRoy a few years back. Maybe it will make another round for the 40th.
BTW Jimmy Page's double-necked guitar is an SG, not a Les Paul.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the corrections...More data at

Acts included B.B. King, Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes, Canned Heat, Country Joe & The Fish, Genesis, REO Speedwagon, and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.


sempleman said...

There is a Yahoo group for alumni of the festival and others who are just curious here
Many group members have posted photos and stories of their experience.

Blog Archive