What did Les Paul do, you ask?
He just invented the electric guitar, built the nicest sounding ones, and fused the jazz string sound of Django Reinhardt and other great blues banjo players, with Black juke-joint music, inventing (along with a couple black musicians, and a few other pioneering Whites, a new form of music called Rock & Roll. He invented multi-track recording, without which all of our movies, tv shows and recorded music would sound like ass, just tinny and thin. He also played with pretty much any major modern musician who is worth a damn, in rock, country, pop and jazz. Basically he lit the fuze that revolutionized music. In fact, he made the fuze before he lit it. He also remained a jamming artist well into his nineties.
But other than that? He didn't do much at all.
You'll an incredible accuracy and economy of notes here. He gets more out of less playing than anybody else.
Not a great recording but it pretty much oozes awesomeness by the Man Who Was The Pivot. What do I mean by that? Check this out:
Hey, you know what that is like? It's like your friends who video the birth of their child. You see rock & roll being birthed in that progression of music, from blues-influenced gypsy jazz, to american swing-jazz being influenced by the gypsy sound; you see the blues being put back in. Then in the final video, you see some really beautiful complex rock guitar.
Les Paul was the man right in the middle of the whole damn thing.
There are a lot of things I don't know, but assuming there's such a thing as "The Celestial Choir," they're gettin' down tonight and makin' a joyful noise unto the Lord. And there's a little bit of smoke wafting past the pearly gates, maybe a whiff of barbecue in the air, you can hear the clank of some ice cold long necks getting dropped into the cooler, and all the cherubim are stomping their feet and clapping along with the music.
RIP, Les. And thanks.