AXS TV pays tribute to the enduring legacy of groundbreaking music pioneer Les Paul, premiering the 2006 concert special LES PAUL & FRIENDS: 90TH BIRTHDAY SALUTE at 8pE/5pP on Sunday, June 18, 2017. This special broadcast is in celebration of Paul’s 101st birthday on June 9.
With a legendary career as a hit-making musician, solid-body electric guitar trailblazer, and an inventor of unprecedented recording techniques, he has impacted and influenced the many facets of the music industry like none other. Filmed live at what was then the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles on February 8, 2006, LES PAUL & FRIENDS gives viewers a front row seat for an unforgettable night of powerhouse performances, as some of music’s biggest names come together to honor the ultimate icon. The night is headlined by show-stopping numbers from an all-star slate of Paul disciples, that includes Slash and Edgar Winter teaming up on the Stevie Wonder staple “Superstition;” Toto axeman Steve Lukather’s rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing;” and Joe Perry and Buddy Guy closing the night with a soulful blues set. Other highlights include spirited performances by Joe Satriani, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Neal Schon, and more.
As part of the night’s festivities, LES PAUL & FRIENDS also features rare commentary taken from several of Paul’s final interviews recorded at New York’s landmark Iridium Jazz Club, as well as at Paul’s home in Mahwah, New Jersey. The special event was held to raise funds and awareness for the South Central charity A Place Called Home, designed to give at-risk youth a safe and secure environment they can thrive in.
The program is produced by AXS TV in association with In Touch Entertainment and Icon Television Music, Inc., who is also handling worldwide distribution. The special is produced by an award-winning production team including Charles Carlini (“Les Paul’s 90th Birthday Concert at Carnegie Hall”), Bob Cutarella (“Les Paul & Friends”), Howard Lipp (“Les Paul 90th Birthday Concert at Gibson Amphitheater”), and Glenn Aveni (“Les Paul Chasing Sound”).
Michael Braunstein, Executive Director of the Les Paul Foundation stated – “It is without a doubt that Les Paul is the ‘Father of Modern Music’ and that musicians from every corner of the globe and in every genre of the music industry stand upon his shoulders. He was an inventor, an award-winning musician, an innovator and most importantly a very special man I also had the privilege of calling my friend. The artists and producers who have made this tribute program possible give us every reason to remember that Les Paul was a man who influenced our music industry profoundly. I am thrilled that viewers everywhere will have the chance to witness his greatest through the performances and storytelling of this wonderful program.”
“With his fingerprints touching everything from how we listen to music, to how the guitar was created and played — Les Paul’s influence on the industry cannot be overstated,” said Evan Haiman, AXS TV’s Vice President of Programming and Production as well as Director of the special. “AXS TV is proud to honor the life and legacy of a genuine music pioneer, as we premiere this unforgettable special featuring an unprecedented roster of artists who were deeply impacted by Paul’s innovations. LES PAUL & FRIENDS is truly a one of a kind tribute event that music lovers of all ages won’t want to miss.”