The birth of loud : Leo Fender, Les Paul, and the guitar-pioneering rivalry that shaped rock 'n' roll /

Publication Type:



Port, Ian S.,


New York : Scribner,, United States, p.1 online resource (2019)

Call Number:




(OCoLC)fst00904885, (OCoLC)fst01202058, bisacsh, Electric guitar, Electric guitar makers, Electric guitar makers., Electric guitar., fast, History., Music, Musical instruments, United States.


Includes bibliographical references.Print version record and CIP data provided by publisher; resource not viewed.A riveting saga in the history of rock 'n' roll: the decades-long rivalry between the two men who innovated the electric guitar's amplified sound-Leo Fender and Les Paul-and their intense competition to convince rock stars like the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton to play the instruments they built. In the years after World War II, music was evolving from big-band jazz into the primordial elements of rock 'n' roll-and these louder styles demanded revolutionary instruments. When Leo Fender's tiny firm marketed the first solid-body electric guitar, the Esquire, musicians immediately saw its appeal. Not to be out-maneuvered, Gibson, the largest guitar manufacturer, raced to build a competitive product. The company designed an "axe" that would make Fender's Esquire look cheap and convinced Les Paul-whose endorsement Leo Fender had sought-to put his name on it. Thus was born the guitar world's most heated rivalry: Gibson versus Fender, Les versus Leo. While Fender was a quiet, half-blind, self-taught radio repairman from rural Orange County, Paul was a brilliant but egomaniacal pop star and guitarist who spent years toying with new musical technologies. Their contest turned into an arms race as the most inventive musicians of the 1950s and 1960s-including bluesman Muddy Waters, rocker Buddy Holly, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Eric Clapton-adopted one maker's guitar or another. By the time Jimi Hendrix played "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Woodstock in 1969 on his Fender Stratocaster, it was clear that electric instruments-Fender or Gibson-had launched music into a radical new age, empowering artists with a vibrancy and volume never before attainable.Intro; Dedication; Epigraph; Prologue; Chapter 1. "The Electric Guitar Spelled Money"; Chapter 2. "He's the Reason You Can Hear Us Tonight"; Chapter 3. "That's Not Les Paul"; Chapter 4. "I'm Gonna Do Something About It"; Chapter 5. "You Say You Can Make Anything. Right?"; Chapter 6. "All Hell Broke Loose"; Chapter 7. A "Newfangled Guitar"; Chapter 8. "Point It Toward My Belly Button, So I Can Play"; Chapter 9. "We Perform Like We're Singing in the Bathtub"; Chapter 10. "If Leo Misses the Boat Now I Will Never Forgive Him"; Chapter 11. "The Time When It Will Be Delivered Is Indefinite."Chapter 12. "Guess I Shouldn't Have Fought You So Long About Releasing This"Chapter 13. "If You Don't Do Something, Fender Is Going to Rule the World"; Chapter 14. "Like a Surging Undertow"; Chapter 15. "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke, and Loud, Loud Music"; Chapter 16. "Les Has Actually Made a New Instrument!"; Chapter 17. "He Doesn't Like to Get Involved with Things That Are Unpleasant"; Chapter 18. "Why Don't You Ask for the Moon?"; Chapter 19. "Let's Try This Again"; Chapter 20. "We Had No Idea That 'Maybellene' Was Recorded by a Niggra Man."Chapter 21. "Two Donkeys on Each End of a Rope, Pulling in Opposite Directions"Chapter 22. "If We're Going Over Well, Our Guitars Weigh Less Than a Feather"; Chapter 23. "I Realized It Was All Over for Musicians Like Me"; Chapter 24. "Why Do You Have to Play So Loud?"; Chapter 25. "You Won't Part with Yours Either"; Chapter 26. "I Just Don't Understand Him at All"; Chapter 27. "Where You Going, Leo?"; Chapter 28. "Prone to Loose Talk"; Chapter 29. "That Man Just Done Wiped You Up"; Chapter 30. "I Can't Believe I Have to Play This Shit"; Chapter 31. "It's a Rickenbacker."Chapter 32. "I'd Broken My Cardinal Rule"Chapter 33. "He Is Clearly Not Growth-Minded"; Chapter 34. "Which Is Worth More?"; Chapter 35. "I Thought Dylan Was Abandoning Us"; Chapter 36. "Give God What He Wants"; Chapter 37. "It Is a Giant Step"; Chapter 38. "I Don't Have My Own Guitar"; Chapter 39. "From Completely Different Angles"; Chapter 40. "Here Was the Real Thing"; Chapter 41. "The Guitars Nowadays Play Just as Good"; Chapter 42. "You Finally Heard What That Song Was About"; Epilogue; Photographs; Acknowledgments; About the Author; Notes and Sources; Index; Copyright