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Bon Jovi's Sambora on Les Paul, “A Legend in His Own Lifetime” 15 August 2009
Rolling Stone article

Source: Rolling Stone

As the rock world continues to mourn the passing of electric guitar groundbreaker Les Paul, one of his friends, Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora, offered to share his memories of this music legend. “He was obviously an innovator and a revolutionary,” Sambora tells Rolling Stone. “For all intents and purposes, he invented the electric guitar, and also, multitrack recording. He used echoes and sound effects back in the ’40s. He was the Jimi Hendrix of his day. The first time you saw Jimi, you’d be like, ‘What the hell was that?!’ And the same thing with Les. The first time you heard Les play, you’re like, ‘That’s from another planet.’ So he was way ahead of his time.

“All of us have to thank him for giving us a job, man,” Sambora adds. “Because let’s face it — without the electric guitar and multitrack recording, where would musicians be? Everybody should give a big thanks to Les for that, for sure.”

Sambora also reflected upon when he first met Paul, when Bon Jovi was struggling to finish work on the follow-up to their commercial breakthrough, 1986’s Slippery When Wet. “A mutual friend of mine invited him over my house. It was my birthday — it was 1988. I was making a record with the band, and we were [planning] a double album. For guitar players, it’s quite arduous — especially if you’re writing the songs and also doing all the guitar parts. So the first time I met him, he comes over my house — we’re in the middle of a party — and I’m like, ‘What the hell are you doing here?!’ It was unbelievable. And he hands me this guitar, and it’s this beautiful white Les Paul, with gold pickups that he wound himself. He said, ‘I put these together especially for you. I heard you were having some problems because you have a lot of stuff to do. Son, here’s a sword — go cut the shit.’ ”


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