For any fan of Les Paul, these fantastic video clips of the great Les Paul playing his Les Paul guitar with some of my lifelong favorite rock guitarists are must see viewing. These videos were filmed at Les Paul’s standing gig at Fat Tuesday’s in Manhattan from the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s.
While I have seen many clips of Les at his Iridium gigs, these clips from Fat Tuesday’s in NYC are simply classic and in some ways I feel they are better, or let’s just say there is a different energy. Of course that different energy could be because they are practically piled on top of each other in what is a very small venue and stage area.
Whatever the reason, these clips of Les Paul and some of my favorite guitar heroes were very enjoyable to me so I thought I would share them with you, my guitar brothers in arms. As YouTube content has grown exponentially, I’ll be procuring and sharing more cool videos of note as I discover them and bring you more of them.
According to sources, Les Paul started holding Court around 1984 in the small basement club in New York until it closed in 1996. For more details about the Fat Tuesday gigs, check out this great article from the L.A. Times blog (https://latimesblogs.latimes.com/thedailymirror/2009/08/les-paul-1915-2009-.html)
One thing I love in these three videos is that how these rock guitar gods (to me) are obviously in awe of Les Paul and how humbling it is for them to be in the presence of the master himself. They are almost like kids meeting their favorite guitar hero and that is very telling about the huge influence Les Paul had on so many of the guitar faithful, especially baby boomers who grew up seeing Les Paul and Mary Ford on television.
Here’s a great video with Smokin Joe Walsh playing Les Paul’s Les Paul guitar. As you will see, he’s acting like a shy and humble kid who is getting to hang with his adolescent guitar hero. Les is as always, the gracious host at these gigs.
Joe Walsh has always been one of my favorite guitarists since I learned of him through my Uncles, who partied with him at his Kent State gigs (pre James Gang) when I was little kid in the late 60s/early 70s in Ohio.
It reminds me that while our generational guitar and musical influences may differ based on when you became aware, your heroes are your heroes, and meeting them can be a joy and daunting at the same time.
In this Brian May session, Brian came somewhat prepared with his own guitar with a distortion set up. Obviously these are very off the cuff sessions, but Brian May tells a funny story about how he wasn’t going to fly to New York until he found out that he had the possibility of sitting in and jamming with Les Paul. Upon hearing that news, he was on a plane from England to jam with the legendary Les Paul.
As a side note, The Les Paul Foundation has been doing great work to keep music education alive for the youth of America and your support makes that happen. Even the smallest gift helps a kid learn about music, music history and the thrill of learning a musical instrument. In this era of arts education budget cuts, we need organizations like the Les Paul Foundation. Click HERE to visit their website and donate with the code guitarstoriesusa.
Les Paul did so much for modern music, guitar and recording innovations that he cannot be simply classified as an inventor or a guitarist because he was all of that and so much more. Though a jazz guitarist, a pro is a pro and these Fat Tuesday gig videos show how easily he slips in as the gracious host with some of the best rock guitar greats, bridging styles while bringing his own unique style and sound to the party.
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