Les Paul exhibit to open in Wisconsin hometown
FILE - In this Nov. 6, 1987 file photo, guitar designer Les Paul, center, signs former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page's chest after signing his guitar at a 72nd birthday party thrown for Paul by Gibson guitar company at New York's Hard Rock Cafe. Guitarist Jeff Beck, left, joined Paul and Page for the party, which drew a variety of rock music personalities. Les Paul was a renown musician also known for his innovations on the solid body electric guitar and multitrack recording. The man who helped pave the way for rock 'n' roll is finally getting a permanent exhibit on June 9, 2013 at the Waukesha County Museum in his Wisconsin hometown. (AP Photo/John Bellissimo, file)
WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — The music icon whose solid-body electric guitar paved the way for rock 'n' roll is now getting a permanent exhibit in his Wisconsin hometown, after more than a decade in the making.
Les Paul, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician who performed regularly into his 90s with his band, developed technology and recording techniques that set the standard in the music industry, including tape echo, multitrack recordings and overdubs . There are permanent exhibits devoted to him at other museums, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland, but he wanted something closer to home.
FILE - In this Dec. 20, 1963 file photo, Les Paul repairs one of the many control boards in the control room at his Oakland, N.J., home. Les Paul was a renown musician also known for his innovations on the solid body electric guitar and multitrack recording. The man who helped pave the way for rock 'n' roll is finally getting a permanent exhibit on June 9, 2013 at the Waukesha County Museum in his Wisconsin hometown. (AP Photo/Dan Grossi, file)
So he loaned the Waukesha County Museum personal items and helped raise funds to make the effort a reality, including writing a personal $25,000 check for expenses and playing a concert to raise $100,000.
"I think it's more personal," he told The Associated Press in 2004. "It's going to be the best exhibit of all."
The exhibit, "The Les Paul Experience," is opening Sunday, which would have been Paul's 98th birthday. Paul died in 2009.
The Waukesha County Museum originally posed the idea to Paul in the 1980s. He finally agreed in 2002, though early leadership changes and fundraising issues caused setbacks. Now, it's now the most comprehensive account of Paul's work and influence, said Kirsten Villegas, the museum's president whose priority when she took over in 2008 was to finish the exhibit.