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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

Written by Ian S. Port

Narrated by Pete Simonelli


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

Written by Ian S. Port

Narrated by Pete Simonelli

ratings:
5/5 (24 ratings)
Length:
9 hours
Released:
Jan 15, 2019
ISBN:
9781508281474
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

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 outmaneuvered, 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.

Released:
Jan 15, 2019
ISBN:
9781508281474
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Ian S. Port is an award-winning writer and music critic whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Village Voice, The Threepenny Review, and The Believer, among others. He is also the former music editor of the San Francisco Weekly. A lifelong guitar player and California native, he and his wife now live in New York City. The Birth of Loud is his first book.


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4.8
24 ratings / 2 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Great history for anyone especially for a guitar player. I’m going to listen to it again!
  • (5/5)
    I learned so much about the instruments i played the last 40 years, stratocaster, twin reverb, jazz bass. And all the musicians i loved, Hendrix, Clapton,