Les Paul with guitars
From designing and building one of the first solid body electric guitars in the 1940's to his name appearing on the controller of one of today's most popular video games, Les Paul has been hailed as a pioneer and innovator in rock 'n' roll. He will again be honored when Case Western Reserve University and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum present the 13th Annual American Music Masters series, "The Wizard of Waukesha: The Life and Legacy of Les Paul," November 10-15.
The week-long celebration features exhibits, movies, concerts, and the annual American Music Masters Conference, featuring leading musicians and scholars who will lead in-depth discussions of Paul's life and his influence on music.
The Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities at Case Western Reserve is host for the conference, "Rock and Roll Retrospective: the Les Paul Phenomenon," held Saturday, on November 15, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Wolstein Auditorium in the Iris S. and Bert L. Wolstein Research Building (2103 Cornell Road). Tickets for the conference are $30 (Case Western Reserve students can attend for free). Registration is required, either on-line at or at the door the day of the event.
The Grammy-winning Paul's legendary career first achieved notice in 1941, when he designed and built a solid-body electric guitar prototype, called "The Log." In the early 1950's, Gibson Guitars developed a model based on Paul's suggestions. Today, the Gibson Les Paul guitar is sold all over the world, used by novices and professionals alike, and his model is the base for a wireless controller for the "Guitar Hero" video game franchise.
Additionally, Paul also developed the first eight-track recorded and had a successful career with singer and then-wife Mary Ford, including their chart-topping hits "How High the Moon" and "Vaya Con Dios."
Enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, Paul is just the second living honoree of the American Music Masters series; Jerry Lee Lewis was the first, last year.
The keynote speaker for the "Rock and Roll Retrospective" conference is Steve Waksman, a music and American studies professor at Smith College whose 1998 work "Instruments of Desire: The Electric Guitar and the shaping of Musical Experience," won the Ralph Henry Gabriel Prize and was published as a book in 1999.
To learn more about the American Music Masters series and the 2008 events, or to register for the conference, visit the Web site or call (216) 368-6280.
Posted by: Heidi Cool, October 17, 2008 10:36 AM | News Topics: Alumnet, Arts & Entertainment, Collaborations/Partnerships, College of Arts and Sciences, Conferences/Symposia, Events, HeadlinesMain, Provost Initiatives, news
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