June 9, 2014 would have been Les Paul‘s 99th birthday. If, Les were still alive today (And, honestly, none of us who knew him would have been surprised if that were the case!) we know the “Wizard Of Waukesha” would still be playing, tinkering, inventing and sharing his “toys” with anyone who expressed an interest.
The last time we saw Les he was doing just that. It was June of 2008. The occasion was the official opening of Les Paul’s House Of Sound, in Milwaukee, and a follow-up concert Les was giving, that night, at Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater.
The House Of Sound was a project Les was very proud of. It gave him the chance to share his “toys” with the world in a beautiful setting, not far from his hometown of Waukesha, at Milwaukee’s Discovery World.
Les had already asked us if we would join him onstage at that evening’s concert and, after a short speech, officially opening the House Of Sound, he joined fans and friends walking through the exhibit. As he answered questions and told stories about his inventions Les asked Johnnie if she would walk with him … and hold his hand.
Fortunately, for us, the moment was captured and e-mailed to us. A priceless keepsake memory of a wonderful day spent with Les.
Happy Birthday, Rhubarb Red! May your echo never fade.