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Les Paul in His Own Words: Hear His Last Rolling Stone Interview

August 14, 2009 1:57 PM ET

Nine months ago I sat down with Les Paul backstage in his dressing room at the Iridium nightclub for a story about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's tribute concert recently held in his honor. As we shared a bag of popcorn, Paul told me about creating the solid-body electric guitar and what drove him to keep performing a weekly show well into his 90s. "I think it's therapy," Paul said. "I think that it's the love of the instrument and the fact that rather than to grow old watching TV, or just layin' around the house trying to get from the bedroom to the bathroom, that it's better to be amongst your friends, make new friends, and to play with a younger generation of people."

Also see our Les Paul obituary, and a look back at his remarkable life in photos.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

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