The Birth of Loud: Leo Fender, Les Paul, and the Guitar-Pioneering Rivalry That Shaped Rock 'n' Roll

The Birth of Loud: Leo Fender, Les Paul, and the Guitar-Pioneering Rivalry That Shaped Rock 'n' Roll Review

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.

Title:The Birth of Loud: Leo Fender, Les Paul, and the Guitar-Pioneering Rivalry That Shaped Rock 'n' Roll

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Brent Criswell

    I am reading an advance, galley proof copy of the book and eagerly awaiting the arrival of the hardcover edition in a couple of weeks. You don't have to be a guitar player, or even a Southern Californ...

  • David Doty

    Much more than a biography of the two titans of the electric guitar industry, Leo Fender and Les Paul, this book is a fascinating history of American music between 1950 and 1970, that includes several...

  • P.e. lolo

    A book about the electric guitar and how it became a force in music. You get a look into Les Paul his life, his work with Gibson guitar and how his suggestions on their guitar made for a better smooth...

  • Jsavett1

    This is a delightful little read about the two giants of electric guitar design and production whose instruments changed the world. Neither “invented” the solid body electric guitar, indeed, as is...

  • Mike Van Campen

    Ĺ...

  • Koen

    Excellent, easy read about the birth of the birth of the electric guitar and loud music.I always loved music but i never been a musician. I can't tell if a musician is very skilled, nor do i care real...

  • John Sklar

    If you have ever heard me talk about my days selling guitars you will hear an echo as you read this book. From 1963-68 I was around selling guitars and amps. Later, of course, I was and still am a con...

  • Mike Walter

    What A Soaring ReadI really really loved this book. Everything about it! It was incredibly well researched with tons of insight about the invention of the electric guitar and the music it helped shape...

  • Martin

    Wonderful telling of an amazing story about music, technology, dedication, invention, and the foibles, false starts, hits and misses of the electric guitar. Ian Port writes in a straightforward, enter...

  • Danielle

    I got a free galley of this book and thought it might go either way as to whether or not this would be a book that I would enjoy. I love listening to music, but I don't play and have no real affinity ...