Les Paul was one of the pioneers of the solid-body electric guitar, which made the sound of rock and roll possible, and is credited with many recording innovations. His innovative talents extended into his playing style, including licks, trills, chording sequences, fretting techniques and timing, which set him apart from his contemporaries and inspired many guitarists of the present day. He recorded with his wife Mary Ford in the 1950s, and they sold millions of records. Among his many honors, Les Paul is the only person to be included in both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Les Paul's contributions to the music industry are legion tape delay, phasing effects, multi-track recording, and overdubbing, or Sound on Sound all techniques that are still in use today, and that have helped to evolve music and recording technology over the past half-century. Of these, his Sound on Sound was the most revolutionary never before had recording allowed, or been used for, making multiple recorded tracks that could be played in tandem, creating a whole new sonic world for musicians and engineers to explore.
In 1945, Les built a recording studio and workshop in the garage of his Hollywood home. Bing Crosby, Les' friend and a top-charting singer and movie star, gave Les one of the first Ampex Model 200A reel-to-reel audio tape recording deck to experiment. Les took the cutting edge technology of the day this mono tape machine and engineered a multi-track tape recorder. This forerunner of all multi-track tape machines was used until computer technology rose to prominence. Adding a second recording head to his Ampex tape recorder was pivotal to the "Sound on Sound" recording technique. Later, Les expanded the concept to build more robust devices, including the eight-track tape recorder.
In 1948, Capitol Records released "Lover", a recording that had begun as an experiment in Les' garage. It featured Les playing eight different parts on electric guitar, layered one over the other. This was the first time that Les used "multitracking" in a professional recording. Les' multitrack recordings were made not with the traditional magnetic tape, but with acetate disks or "lacquers" the progenitor of vinyl records. Les would record a track onto an acetate disk, then record himself playing another part along with the first. Using this acetate-disk method to record parts at different speeds, with delays and half-speed and double-speed sounds, he created what would become his signature sound: multi-track, echoes, with fast trills and riffs. It was with this recording technique that he was able to record, asynchronously, performances of singing or guitars playing multiple parts in tandem something that could not be duplicated in live performance (yet). This was a painstaking, arduous process one mistake and the recording would have to begin anew. By the time Les was satisfied with the result, he had discarded five hundred recording disks.
The B-side, "Brazil," was similarly recorded. Both could later be found on his seminal album on Capitol, "The New Sound."
"The original ten-inch Capitol album rounds up all four of the wild-and-crazy groundbreaking singles that launched Les Paul's experiments in overdubbing and highspeed recording. That they could be done at all in those days was astounding, for Paul was still recording directly onto discs in 1947, with just himself and a drummer now and then. Sometimes his taste veered toward the crackerbarrel, hence "The Man on the Flying Trapeze," and his complicated breakthrough record "Lover" is a really hammy bit of work. But Paul's superb musical instincts often come through in standards like "Caravan" and "What Is This Thing Called Love?"; the intuitive harmonies are often sublime. The 12-inch version adds four numbers dating from well after this early period ("Nola," "Sleep," "Lady of Spain," "South"), which creates an abrupt change in tone." - Richard S. Ginell, allmusic.com
2. Hip-Billy Boogie
3. The Swiss Woodpecker
6. Lady Of Spain
7. Three Little Girls (Bonus Track)
8. The Carioca (Bonus Track)
9. La Rosita (Bonus Track)
11. The Man On The Flying Trapeze
12. By The Light Of The Silvery Moon
13. What Is This Thing Called Love
16. Chicken Reel (Bonus Track)
17. I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles (Bonus Track)