In honor of famed guitarist, songwriter and inventor Les Paul’s birthday on June 9, Musicians On Call hosted a special virtual program for pediatric hospitals. Patients at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and St. Louis Children’s Hospital tuned in to see Volunteer Musicians Ken Knowlton, Sam Hatmaker and Stephanie Jacques share stories of Les Paul’s life and perform the music he created and influenced.
Along with his performances of “Twist and Shout,” made famous by The Beatles, and Frank Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight,” Ken told the story of the day he was lucky enough to meet Les Paul. It happened 20 years ago, when Ken went to see Les at his residency at a jazz club in Times Square. Les made a point to meet every person who attended his shows, showing what a great entertainer and person he was. Ken got a picture with the legendary musician and a moment he will never forget.
Sam Hatmaker discussed how Les’ invention of the multi-layer recording changed how artists make music, and is still used today. Artists from The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, to Adele and Billie Eilish have been inspired by his invention. Sam performed “Here Comes the Sun,” likely one of the earliest songs to use the multi-layer recording.
Stephanie Jacques shared some Les Paul trivia, including his nickname “the Wizard of Waukesha,” and details of his many national awards. She then performed “How High the Moon,” one of the 11 #1 songs Les Paul recorded and performed with his wife Mary Ford.
“We’re all gifted in some way. I’ve always, my whole life, been very active. It’s that drive and curiosity which has helped me get the most out of whatever gifts I was born with. It’s the difference between just thinking and actually doing that has set me apart more than anything else.” – Les Paul
This virtual program was made possible by the Les Paul Foundation, whose mission is to inspire innovative and creative thinking by sharing the legacy of Les Paul through the support of music education, recording, innovation and medical research related to hearing.