Les Paul’s WGN jacket … the REST of the story!

This past Saturday, June 9th, would have been Les Paul’s 97th birthday.  Many of Les’ fans around the world helped celebrate by participating in an historic auction of guitars and other memorabilia from Les’ estate.  The auction was conducted by Juliens for the Les Paul Foundation to benefit music education and innovation.  By the end of the two day auction almost $5 million had been raised.

In the midst of all the guitars and electronics the one item we were paying attention to was a jacket.  A jacket?  Yep, this was the WGN Radio jacket Les wore that he got from Johnnie.  With the “buyer’s premium” charge Julien’s auctions adds to the winning bid, it went for about $650.  We smiled at that and think that Les would have been smiling, too.  As quickly as the bidding went up, we know the person who made the winning bid must have been smiling, too.

In case he or she ever does a google search for more information on Les and the jacket, we thought we’d tell, as another friend named Paul (Harvey) used to say, “The REST of the story.”

During one of his many visits with us, Les was reminiscing about his days in Chicago radio.  At one time or another, either as Les Paul or Rhubarb Red, he found himself behind the microphones of most of the major Chicago stations and, as Les told us, he had fond memories of being at WGN.  When we got our WGN jackets as Christmas gifts from the station, Johnnie thought it would be a perfect Christmas gift for Les.  When he got it Les had to call us and tell us how much he loved it.

Les got the jacket just before a historic photo session that was done at his Mawah, NJ home by internationally known photographer, Annie Leibovitz.  Joining Les for this photo session was another guitar legend we’re fortunate enough to call a friend, Duane Eddy.  You’ve probably seen the Annie Leibovitz photo as it appeared in Vanity Faire magazine with the caption “Axe Men.”

What you may not have seen is the photo below.  It was taken by Duane Eddy’s wife, Deed, during a break at the Annie Leibovitz session.  Les wanted to have a picture taken of him wearing the WGN jacket so Johnnie could see it.

Deed Eddy took this picture of Duane and Les with Les wearing Johnnie’s WGN jacket.

The picture was a wonderful gift from Les, Duane and Deed.  It is a very cherished memory of and from some very special friends.

And now you know the REST of the story.

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14 Responses to Les Paul’s WGN jacket … the REST of the story!

  1. Linda Sue says:

    I love the way you story tell. The words go together oh so well!
    A story about Les should be told. It always includes good friends old.
    If Mr Paul could read this post, that you wrote as a good host,
    he would grin and be grateful…..and then tell Johnnie she is beautiful!

    I can’t wait until the books come out!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Cheri says:

    A very touching memory. I really miss you guys to keep mne company while I am working.

  3. Joan M. Stockhoff says:

    Steve and Johnnie:

    I agree with Linda Sue, I cannot wait for the books to come out!!! So many memories, so many great times and can’t wait to read about them again. I love your stories about Les!!!

  4. SueSantoFan says:

    Such a lovely story. Thank you for sharing them with us. We do miss you so much and these pearls keep us tied together with love!

  5. Judy Kay says:

    Amazing that TODAY i am looking all over Google pages to find out where you two are… and I find your Blog and you posted TODAY !

    Steve and Johnnie….I hope you NEVER get sick of hearing ” I miss you sooooo much ! ” Because every day / night it is a hurt that does not go away. I go back to Wally days, and never switched to another station. And when my husband got sick, I moved into another bedroom , and guess WHO I slept with ? LOL ! I can’t tell you the nights I would hear a new singer and reach over for my pencil and write down the name. ! Or, you would be mentioning a web site, or person’s name… GET THE PENCIL ! .. And in the morning, I would look at the little tablet and say… ” What is the HECK does THAT say ??? ” LOL… I would fall asleep and you would wake me up …then I would stay awake to hear what you would say next.

    Miss the WGN that is no more. It just is not good. I don’t think it will ever re-coup. You were a part of radio history, radio at it’s best. You don’t try to better what they had. Sad. sad.

    I am just so glad to find your blog..and hope you will tell us what you are doing now. You guys just be so proud of what you did for many people. And you both are so blessed to have found each other, and no matter if life gets hard sometimes.. You will sustain each other. And I know you have GREAT THINGS ahead of you, and oh how I wish I could follow you. You will ever be in my memories of GOOD THINGS. You are both STAND UP PEOPLE. From a time when CLASS was revered. You’re the BEST. Best of everything to you. YOU DONE GOOD !

  6. Susan says:

    Have you thought of podcasting?? Memories of all these wonderful friends you have shared with us in your own voices!

    • Maggie OMalley says:

      Yeah, S&J… Susan has a wonderful idea…. I would be so super to hear you guys again! And your stories are so wonderful! Please, please.

      I also want to echo Judy Kay’s sentiment as well…. you are so so sorely missed!

      — Maggie from Chapel Hill.

  7. Michael W Barnard says:

    That is a WONDERFUL, story Steve. Thanks for sharing it. -Mike B

  8. Barbara says:

    Still can’t hear the name “Les Paul” without my mind adding “and Mary Ford”. She died over 30 years before him and missed so much of his wonderful career Such a great pair. Barbara

  9. Judy says:

    Hi

    I really enjoy getting all of the updates that you are sending. Hope all is going well with both of you.

  10. And now we know the rest of the story, thanks for sharing!

  11. Terry Lanigan says:

    I was a big fan. I miss you guys early in AM on WGN

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