The Man In The Moon

- Jamie Dickson Editor-in-chief

The artist Pablo Picasso once said, “Inspiratio­n exists, but it has to find you working.” He might have been writing about Les Paul (see cover feature, page 56) who never stopped working, hardly even to sleep. These days, people tend to think of Les Paul as an inventor who was also a talented musician. But as his son, producer Gene Paul, told us, this is absolutely the wrong way round. He was an inventor because he was driven, as few people are, to unlock the full potential of the guitar as a music-making device. Making better music was a goal he pursued relentless­ly – and so when inspiratio­n visited Les (which happened often) it would inevitably find him working. His diligence in making the best music he could, by any means at his disposal, was rewarded with more than 50 hit singles, three Grammy Awards and four Grammy nomination­s.

So, if the words ‘Les Paul’ have only ever conjured up the mental image of a flame-topped guitar, maybe it’s time to make room for the idea that those words were synonymous with musical brilliance long before 1952. How high the moon? Who knows – but the question wouldn’t have daunted Les because he was always aiming higher in the name of music, and nothing seemed impossible to him. Which brings to mind another Picasso quote: “He can who thinks he can, and he can’t who thinks he can’t…” It’s amazing how far such an attitude can take you. Enjoy the issue and see you next time.

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