You would think that with everything that has been said and written about Les Paul — and by him — there would be no more surprises. After all, museums and historical exhibits have been created in his honor. But here come Chicago radio legends Steve King and Johnnie Putman with A Little More Les, 352 pages of conversations, photos and memories from their treasured 18-year friendship with Mr. Paul.
Each week, Les phoned them in the early hours of Tuesdays after he returned to his New Jersey home from his Monday night shows at the famed Iridium Jazz Club in Manhattan. After Les passed away in 2009, Steve and Johnnie created a weekly tribute by re-airing interview highlights with Les. “A Little More Les” became a “musthear” feature on WGN Radio.
The tribute continues in this book. Steve and Johnnie sifted through over 60 hours of interviews they did with Les, and have gleaned the “best of,” which includes some never-told stories from the man who invented the electric guitar and many innovations that revolutionized the recording industry. You’ll be treated to Les’s sharp wit, irresistible charm and creative genius. That word, genius, although thrown around freely today (every Apple Store has several!), really does define Les perfectly. Just as inventions by his fellow National Inventors Hall of Fame members Edison and Bell made our lives better, so did Les’s creations, including the electric guitar and numerous sound recording innovations.
As you become immersed in these fascinating, touching and hilarious personal glimpses into what made this remarkable man tick, you’ll no doubt have many, “I didn’t know that!” moments (such as after reading that Les showed David Seville how to create the sound that became the voices of the uber-popular Chipmunks cartoon characters.) And don’t be surprised if you experience the same fate that befell Steve and Johnnie: finding yourself hopelessly in love with this rascal of a man who forever changed how music is played and recorded.
Longtime WGN listeners will love reading Steve and Johnnie’s memories, and when you toss in personal memories of Les from some of the best guitar pickers of all time: Duane Eddy, Charlie Daniels, Doyle Dykes, Tommy Emmanuel, Muriel Anderson and others, this is one of those books about which you’ll say, “I couldn’t put it down!”