Man who “made the sound of rock and roll possible,” Les Paul dies at 94

It’s hard to summarize the life and works of Les Paul so let’s just say that he belongs in the Smithsonian Institution (and indeed his work is there). Wikipedia has an excellent article about him which begins: “He was a pioneer in the development of the solid-body electric guitar which “made the sound of rock and roll possible.” His many recording innovations include overdubbing, delay effects such as “sound on sound” and tape delay, phasing effects, and multitrack recording. His innovative talents extended into his unique playing style, including licks, trills, chording sequences, fretting techniques and timing which set him apart from his contemporaries and inspired most of the guitarists of the present day.” As the New York Times put it, Les Paul was a …”virtuoso guitarist and inventor whose solid-body electric guitar changed the course of 20th-century music.”

Mr. Paul died of pneumonia, which is is an infection in one or both of the lungs and can be caused by many small germs such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. You’re at greater risk for pneumonia if you’re in a hospital intensive-care unit, especially if you’re on a ventilator (a machine to help you breathe). Having a weak or suppressed immune system also can raise your risk. A weak immune system may be the result of a disease such as HIV/AIDS. A suppressed immune system may be due to an organ transplant or chemotherapy (treatment for cancer), or long-term steroid use. Your risk also goes up if you have trouble coughing because of a stroke,trouble swallowing, limited ability to move, alcohol use, or sedation (being given medicine to make you relaxed or sleepy). Smoking cigarettes, abusing alcohol, and being undernourished also raise your risk for pneumonia. Your risk also goes up if you’ve recently had a cold or the flu, or if you’re exposed to certain chemicals, pollutants,or toxic fumes.




Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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